One Year Down And Ready For More!
Exploring Greenfire Farm with DeLisa Lewis
This past spring the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) embarked upon an exciting new project, the Cowichan Agriculture Training (CAT) program, with the aim to build the capacity of local agriculture in our community. Though the issues with our current food system are multifaceted, one area that is clearly lacking support is foundational level training for folks interested in working in the agricultural sector, particularly small to mid-scale agricultural systems geared to meet local market demands.
The program is a Project Based Labour Market Training initiative funded by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. Partnering with Global Vocational Services, our local WorkBC agency, we were able to recruit eight eligible and interested participants. These participants receive a living allowance as well and a broad range of learning opportunities and a variety of sector related certifications. We also partnered with farms in the area who had expressed interest in hosting participants for their farm placement component of the training.
This program has so much potential. Training more folks in agriculture benefits both the individual and the community. Studies show that we are rapidly losing these skills in our communities as the average age for farmers is over 50, and there has been a steady decrease over the past few decades in new folks coming into the sector. It’s so important to support and nurture those with an interest in farming because we all need to eat, and it’s foolhardy to be completely reliant on imported foods!
If you are interested in learning more about the CAT program, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 250-748-8506. Ask for Stephanie! If you are a local farmer or otherwise involved in the sector you are invited to join us at our upcoming AgCafé events: January 13 and 27, 9:30-12 (drop-in) in the meeting room at The Station (360 Duncan st). Come meet the CAT team and chat about themes and issues that concern you! Not a CGC member yet? Please consider joining, which is actually investing in community resilience by creating initiatives such as this!
Submitted by Stephanie Cottel, Supervisor Cowichan Agriculture Training Program Cowichan Green Community 250-748-8506