Coombs Farmers’ Institute
Fall 2020 Newsletter
Greeting to All CFI Members!
We’re pretty sure that none of you want to read any more “COVID News”.
No worries. We won't do that here.
This Newsletter comes to you, in lieu of our Fall General Meeting, at which, historically, we catch everyone up on what we have accomplished throughout the year, and what we plan to get up to in the year to come. So, with that thought in mind, we hope you enjoy the following!
The News from 2020
Welcome to New Members
We extend a heartfelt welcome to our new members. Farmers’ Institutes have existed for over 120 years in B.C., always serving in the roles of strengthening agriculture and community.
To assist you in learning more about our organization, read the Farmers and Women's Institute Act, which clearly states our mandate and objectives.
Things That Didn’t Happen in 2020
CFI March 2020 AGM
The Hall was booked, all reports gathered, the Agenda prepared, the Power Point ready to go, the Event page on FaceBook posted. Marion even knew which cookies she was going to bake. All for nought.
Back in March, we still had no idea how long Covid was going to last. As the weeks passed, we realized that the best we could do would be to file our Annual Report with the Superintendent.
As one of the prime purposes of an AGM is to hold elections of officers, the Executive and Directors were asked if they would be willing to extend their terms for another year. Many thanks to those members who take the time out of their own lives and jobs, to support our CFI.
President: Janet Thony
Vice President: Gene Ambrose
Treasurer: Cindy Vanduin
Secretary: Marion Woloschuk
(See below for information regarding the 2021 March AGM)
CFI 42nd Annual Farm Auction
Scheduled to be held on April 26, 2020, we reluctantly made the decision that there was no alternative but to cancel. Many options were considered, none seemed able to meet our needs. This was no small thing.
It is our sole fund raiser for our scholarship program, and all other projects and initiatives. Good thing Cindy is such an excellent money manager..:)
See below for our hopes for a 2021 Spring Auction!
Coombs Fall Fair
For the last 7 years, at the Coombs Fall Fair, CFI has either hosted an information booth, Demonstration Garden Tours or our Farmers Feed Families Event.
The Arrowsmith Agricultural Association, the driving force behind the historic Fall Fair, faced with the same Covid dilemma, cancelled the Fair, opting for a drive through event. We decided we would save our volunteers' energies for the Fall Apple Pressing.
Things That DID Happen in 2020
Cost of Production and Farmstead Management Dual Workshop
On February 1, 2020, CFI hosted this well-attended workshop at the Bradley Centre. Andrea Gunner taught the Cost of Production segment in the morning. Taylor Jeffries, Ministry of Agriculture, was slated to teach Farmstead Management in the afternoon. It was on this day that the Highway flooded, she was unable to reach us. To fill the void, Jill Hatfield, our RA, Andrea and Janet led an “all agriculture questions answered” session in the afternoon.
District 'A' Farmers’ Institute News
A report is given at every Fall Meeting on the activities of District 'A', who works on behalf of all local FIs. All CFI members have been receiving emails, updating them on District 'A' actions, so no need to reiterate them here.
On February 6, 7 and 8, 2020, Marion Woloschuk (Secretary, CFI and District 'A') and Janet Thony, (President, CFI and District 'A' FI) and volunteers from other locals, manned a booth at the February 2020 Islands Agriculture Show. This is a wonderful fact-finding and networking opportunity for farmers.
4-H Livestock Trailer Donation
We, along with other local businesses, were approached in August by the Parksville Qualicum Oddstock 4-H Club, to support them in purchasing needed livestock equipment. They offered three Sponsorship Options.
As we believe 4-H to be an outstanding youth program, we chose to gift them $1000, for which our CFI logo will be displayed on their stock trailer.
Auction cancellation notwithstanding, we did award one $2,000 Scholarship to Hana Rogers who is attending the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in Animal Bioscience.
New CFI Brochure
A big thank you to Sara Couper and Peyman Azar, for designing and managing the rollout of our new brochure, just in time for the 2020 Apple Pressing.
With our recent change of mailing address and decision to offer e-transfer for payment of membership fees, we saw this as an opportunity to put a fresh face on our brochure.
See Below for Brochure!
2020 Membership Dues
There must be some good outcomes from Covid. Here they are.
- All membership dues for 2020 are waived. Those of you who have paid for 2020 will be “in good standing” for 2021.
- To streamline payment of membership dues ($10 annually) we now have e-transfer in place.
Please send payment for 2021 dues ($10):
Pay by electronic bank transfer to: email@example.com
Send cheque, payable to:
Coombs Farmers' Institute
3090 Alberni Highway
Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1X2
4th Annual Apple Pressing - October 3 and 4, 2020
With the always cheerful assistance of our volunteers, and some welcome warm, dry weather, CFI hosted our 4th Annual Apple Pressing at the Coombs Fairgrounds. A whopping 15,000 pounds of mostly apples, but some pears, were pressed over two busy days. This event wrapped up projects funded under the RDN NCED Grant monies we received in 2019.
We spoke to no less than three people who are moving forward with either orchard expansion or start-ups. To support their business decisions, they cited a growing market/interest in fruit and its value added products, not to mention the availability of dependable fruit pressing services..:)
That weekend, we signed up four new members, all of whom are grateful that CFI hosts events offering practical assistance. There was some discussion around our plans for next year's pressing, regarding booking dates.
It was suggested that as well as our early October weekend event, we consider booking an added day, some weeks earlier. This would support those growers who have earlier maturing crops.
Can you please, if you have any preferences, let us know your thoughts by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org?
Our hope, for our 5th Annual Apple Pressing Event, is that Covid will no longer hamper our plans to add education, entertainment and a Farmers' Market to the event, as we did in 2019.
Loss of Meat Processing Facilities Central Island
As many are aware, we have lost significant red meat and poultry/fowl processing capacity this year.
The closures of Braun Meats (Duncan), Plecas Meats (Nanaimo), The Cluck Stops Here (Whiskey Creek) and Al's Feathers Be Gone (Alberni), have created multiple road blocks for all livestock producers. There are some efforts underway to address these concerns.
Our new Meat Regulations Committee, chaired by Gene Ambrose, and assisted by committee members Sam Pickard, Will Gemmell, Joanna Wellburne, Chris Orr and Ben Glassen will endeavour to keep everyone informed as things progress.
Please see Rural Slaughter Modernization Intentions Paper
Bills 52 and 15 Update
In response to considerable push-back, province wide, to the changes wrought by these two Bills, particularly regarding the change in housing regulations on ALR land, the Ministry released the (attached) Housing Flexibility Intentions Paper, subsequent to extensive consultations.
District “A' FI will, shortly, be sending a letter requesting the current status of this proposed policy change. (amongst other current lingering issues).
Please see Housing Flexibility Intentions Paper
CFI Plans for 2021
March 2021 CFI AGM
We will be holding our AGM in late March 2021. We just don't know if it will be a Zoom or 'socially distanced' meeting.
Elections for Executive and Director positions will be held. Anyone wishing to serve in any of these roles, please contact Marion Woloschuk, Chair of the Nominations Committee. You can reach Marion at 250 757 8526 or by email at email@example.com.
Seedy Sunday Farmers' Market - March 28, 2021
Planning is already underway for our first CFI Seedy Sunday Farmers' Market. In response to the cancellation of the Qualicum Beach Seedy Saturday, and at the request of a couple of our members, a Committee of 10 CFI members has been formed to manage this new initiative.
We will be contacting regional seed houses, nurseries, and any person wishing to secure a table to sell seeds, plants, food crops and value added farm products. Following the directives from government regarding Covid protocols, we believe we can successfully hold this one day event in the Beef Barn at the Coombs Fairgrounds. For more information, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning Janet at 250 738 0888.
More details to follow by email to our membership, via local publications and on Facebook.
CFI 43rd Annual Farm Auction
We have booked the Fairgrounds for the Auction for April 25th, in the slight hope we can hold it. Aura is tracking down the relevant rules from the BCCDC.
Workshop Planning Committee
To off-set the rather unusual year we have experienced, we are happy to announce that we have made progress in planning for new initiatives.
Aura Bell has volunteered to chair our new Workshop Planning Committee, and is accepting “expressions of interest” for workshop ideas.
Homesteading Series 2021
The initial series of workshops will aim to support and instruct any interested persons in skills related to subsistence agriculture and self reliance. Topics to be considered may include, but not be limited to: animal husbandry, fruit and vegetable growing, farm health and safety, 'homesteading' skills, and the preservation and storage of all foods. As always, we will endeavour to offer these workshops at no (or minimal) cost.
Please email Aura at email@example.com, if you have any questions or suggestions for workshops.
FI Gleaning Initiative - 2021
Aligned with our Annual Apple Pressing, CFI is happy to announce another community based initiative, the CFI 2021 Gleaning Project.
It is clear that there is potential within our community to harvest excess tree fruits, reducing food waste and wildlife issues. Sharing skills in fruit preservation and tree care will form part of the program.
A standard model for Gleaning Societies is proposed, that is, 1/3 of the crop remains with the land owner, if desired, 1/3 of the crop belongs to the gleaning organization, in this case CFI, and 1/3 of the crop is shared with local food bank programs. Although the prime focus will be fruit crops, vegetables may also be considered. If successful, we will run this program on an annual basis, as we do the Auction and the Apple Pressing.
A Standing Committee has been struck to develop and manage this project, co-chaired by Aura Bell and Cheri Naslund.
If you are interested in getting involved, or have any suggestions/questions please contact Aura and Cheri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, in summary…
As if 2020 hadn't visited us with enough challenges.....
...a big thank you to Don Alberg, his trailer and his nephew, and Janet, Peyman and Daniel for showing up after the Big Wind, to safely store our wounded barn front in the Beef Barn. Photo credit to Sara Couper.
The repair strategy is already determined....”this is nothing to a big outfit like ours”.
Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like any further information.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.