All posts by Barbara

BC Good Agricultural Practices workshop April 12th at the Community Hall

Free workshop for producers to learn about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) was on April 12th - 830 am to 4 pm,  Pender Community Hall.  Presented by Elsie Friesen, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Abbotsford. Thirteen people attended and received manuals. The BC Good Agricultural Practices Guide offers a whole-farm approach covering all aspects of crop and livestock production. It includes worker policies, farm building and access, equipment, water, cleaning, farm inputs, shipping, crops, livestock. This program is useful, and sometimes required, for sale of farm products at retail locations or in restaurants. Helps to expand market possibilities, assure customers of high standards of food and environmental safety.

April Pender Post article. 2017 Pender Islands Fall Fair – August 26th

We had a great response from the last Pender Post article, and are looking forward to another great Fall Fair! Good ideas to match the theme of “In Simpler Times”, and some new people to help lighten the load of organizing the fair. Many thanks to Matthew Vasilev who has volunteered to help organize the exhibits conveners. Matthew is already half way through the list, and he is also helping to put together the catalogue for this year. He can be reached at or at 1-778-792-9114. If you were a convener last year and haven’t heard from Matthew yet give him a call so he knows if you are able to help again, or need help or a replacement (or changes to the catalogue). Thank you. We still have gaps for the organizing committee – entertainment, grounds set up – and still have to confirm volunteers from last year. Please contact Barbara Johnstone Grimmer at or 250-222-3817 (cell) or 250-629-3817(day) or 3819 (evenings) if you are interested or want to let us know if you are available to volunteer this year. If you are reading this before March 31st, you are invited to the Farmers’ Institute AGM at the Hall on March 31– potluck at 6 pm, meeting at 7 pm – the Fall Fair will be on the agenda so if you are interested in helping out or volunteering for the organizing committee, please stop by. Everyone is welcome. Updates will be posted on our Facebook Page for the Pender Islands Fall Fair or our website Information will also be available at the Farmers’ Market

March Pender Post article. 2017 Pender Islands Fall Fair

  The theme for the fair this year is "In Simpler Times", harkening back to the first Pender Island Fall Fair in 1932, 85 years ago. The 1932 fair had a budget of $100 with 50 cents as the admission fee for a family. There were over 600 entries that year and prizes included 48 pounds of flour, a side of bacon and a gallon of paint. This was a time before Islands Trust, BC Ferries, before electricity, before Magic Lake, and before the multiple community groups and activities. What would that be like? Come out and see, or better yet, help us create it! Originally sponsored by the Farmers’ Institute and Women’ Institute, the focus was and has been to promote and support agriculture. In the past, the government provided grants and evaluators for this purpose. In recent years there have been no government grants, and instead of educating farmers the emphasis for ag fairs is primarily to educate the public. Recent fairs on Pender have been supported by many Island groups and businesses and have grown in scope to celebrate our diverse community, but the burden of the organizing has shifted from a community-wide Fall Fair committee of the Farmers Institute, to a Farmers Institute board organizing committee. This has stretched the board too thin, as the fair has grown, in size, scope and expense. The budget and the entries are greater, and the attendance is larger than in the early years of the Fair. The Fair still retains its rural atmosphere and will hopefully continue to be a good example of the community cooperation and enterprise first begun by our elders, with some significant changes to balance the workload. To put on the fair requires a lot of work and time, and it is quite possible that the fair will be dramatically scaled down if there aren't enough volunteers for the organizing committee. Community groups with specific interest in the various competitive exhibits are asked to provide a volunteer to go onto the organizing Fall Fair Committee. Already the Recycling Society has offered to help make the fair a zero-waste event, in addition to providing their role in recycling on the day of the fair, providing dishes for the barbecue, and providing convener, judge and prize money and assisting in setting up their section for the fair. We would like to hear from the food vendors soon so that this zero-waste effort can be successful. If you are interested in helping in any aspect of the fair, think of what would interest you and how much of a time commitment you can afford, then please contact Barb at 3819 or 3817 or by March 31. Thank you.

Thank You Pender Island!! 2017 FALL FAIR – “IN SIMPLER TIMES” – August 26th

Thank You Pender Island!!

A warm heartfelt Thank You! to all in our wonderful Pender community and our visitors who helped to make the 2017 Fall Fair such a big success.
A lot of work goes into this one day event, and some people have worked all year to iron out all of the kinks that we could by Saturday.
The Farmers' Institute (PIFI) appreciate the support of the Hall (also known as PIRAHA or Pender Island Recreational and Agricultural Hall Association), especially Murray Vasilev who made sure the Hall provided the perfect venue for the event. Richard Piskor is the Farmers Institute Vice President and Treasurer, and as a new board member for PIRAHA he was the perfect linkage between the two organizations. Matthew Vasilev as a new young board member of PIFI, worked with Jan Kirkby on bringing Twin Island cider to the beer garden, which of course led to Hoyne Craft Beer (supported by Richard Piskor wearing his Hope Bay Hop Farm hat) which opened the door to bring Sea Star wines to the Beer Garden.
Thank you to Don and Linda Wein for providing free parking for the day in their field next to the Hall. This helped to encourage people to park off the road and made parking safer. Thanks also to the parking crew, led by Gary Goodman and Doug Keating. I hear that the new parking uniform for Pender is a vest and a kilt, according to Paul Hamson.
The flowers and decorations on the grounds were both exquisite and fun. Many thanks to Elizabeth Scalice who kept it a secret until early Saturday morning. What a treat!! The flowers came from all over the island - thanks everyone!
Donna Kilbey and Wendy MacDonald brought experience of past fairs to our fall fair meetings, which helped a great deal. They came to help with set up, registration, the Information Booth all day, and they dressed up in beautiful vintage outfits as well. "We love our job", they would say, and I would say, we love you.
Long time flower conveners Carole Elliott and Diane Riedel also attended many fall fair meetings, contributing their experience of past fairs and providing hours of volunteer labour.
Rod Knox, a professional cartographer who has been mapping the Farmers' Market all season, made us maps of the grounds and hall to help with our grounds layout.
Thank you to Pearl Nowak and Ina Timmer who helped Richard with counting and sorting all the money that came in from the gate, raffle and ticket sales.
The Parade started the Fair with a bang, thanks to Nia Williams. Nia seemed to pop up in other areas of the fair, always helping.
The Food for the Fair was coordinated with the help of Sanae Kikuchi and Murray Vasilev, and provided by the Legion, the Pender Island Pirates, Pender Island PAC, the Epicentre, as well as farmers market people Erin Pauch, Sanae and Yoko Kikuchi.
The annual Fall Fair barbecue was coordinated by Dorothy Murdoch, ably assisted by Maria Hanson, Fred Wiercyski, Aaron Grimmer, Craig Miller, Michael Bradly and Isaac Grimmer with support by Vanilla Leaf Bakery and George Leroux. It is thought to be the best barbecue in many, many years.
Our Master of Ceremonie Bruce McConchie, musical guests Ben McConchie and the "Local Talons" and of course Pender Young Violins and the Pender Highlanders were enthusiastically enjoyed. Colin Hamilton provided sound for the day and into the evening, and was also seen at the take-down on Sunday helping out with many other people.
Helen Allison and Ellen Willingham awarded the trophies to the winners, the Pender Otter Swim Club ran the trophies out onto the stage, and Trinette Prior and her husband Neil Wilton collected, polished, calculated points and will arrange for engraving of the trophies.
We especially acknowledge and thank the conveners of all the sections of the Fair, from Flowers, to Livestock, to Children's Art - it is a lot of work behind the scenes as well as taking care of their sections all day at the Fair - and we thank the Exhibitors, who worked all year on their entries to share their talents with the rest of Pender.
Thank you to Jodi Schamberger for her tireless work organizing the livestock area, to the Salt Spring 4-H Community Club who brought sheep to the fair. Pieter DeMooy, a world class shearer, demonstrated shearing sheep by hand, by a hand-cranked shearing machine and by modern electric shears. Michelle Masseling brought her border collies to demonstrate how they work and herd the sheep.
Arthur Kikuchi set up and ran the poultry tent, and this year we had a wee barn for a mamma hen and her babies.
Austin Davies stepped in for his wife Leah, who had a baby a bit too early, and he organized some games earlier in the day. Lindsay "Hoopster" stepped in to help with the children's area, with her bouncy castles, and Valentina with some help ran a colourful face painting area. The children's area was colourful and always active!
Recycling are special partners to the Fair, and had worked with us on a Zero Waste Initiative which had its challenges but it did raise awareness and hopefully reduced overall waste for our Fair. They also ran a successful Recycling area, with a competive section and education.
The community groups had a big tent, and spilled out into the area around the tent and dotted through the grounds, we have so many groups on the island appealing to many interests. The Fire Department brought a truck and some fun with education for kids.
The Raffle tent was run by Kari Amies Horbas, with proceeds to the Pender Island Farmers' Institute Neptune Navy Grimmer - Ashton Ross Smith Bursary. Items donated from local businesses and farms helped to raise $740 for the bursay. Thank you Kari and those with the gambling spirit.
The Farmers Market was also well attended and had some music of its own, thanks to Bill Heintz.
Then there were our sponsors: Thank you to the businesses and farms who contributed cash and in-kind donations for the raffle or the beer garden and other areas of the fair. It allowed us to keep the cost of attending the fair down so everyone on Pender could attend. Thank you to Island Savings for providing a water station next to the children's area.
Special thanks to Sharon Vasilev who fed the set up volunteers, Paul Petrie (helped by Monica Petrie) who fed the Judges, Conveners and volunteers on Friday, and to Theresa Carle-Sanders who cooked up a clean-up breakfast on Sunday of Pender blueberry pancakes and Pender homemade sausage.
Saturday was capped off by Daniel Lapp, with his friends Adam Dobres and Adrian Dolan. It was a magical concert for all. The end to a perfect day. Many, many thanks to the people who showed up to set up tents, put table clothes on exhibit tables, set out chairs, hang signs, then some of the same people and some new came back on Sunday to take it all down and carefully put it all away.
Rick McMullen of Shaw Cable for putting up our banner, BC Hydro crew who took it down today -Thanks!! Thank you to Davy Rippner who took the photos I have here - add your own to our page. We love them!
Finally, thanks to Sharon Vasilev and Jan Albertin who cleaned, swept and washed floors to make the Hall better than ever when we were done, and to Natasha Ilkiw who with Jan, sorted and organized everything in the Hall before it was tucked away.
Last put not least I would like to thank Jean Bradley, our guest of honour, who was not able to attend the Fair but was well represented by her daughter Carole Petek, who was also seen volunteering in the raffle tent during the day, following her mom's wise words about volunteering in a community if you want to truly be part of a community.

    Fair admission by donation  - Tickets to BBQ and Daniel Lapp available at Talisman

District A meeting January 29th – Report on AGM

District A Farmers' Institute includes the Farmers' Institutes on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast. The AGM of District A was January 29th at Nanoose Place, Nanoose, BC.  That agenda is here District A Agenda 2017 and the minutes of the 2016 AGM are here District A 2016 AGM Minutes .  The minutes and treasurers report of the 2017 District A meeting are here Minutes_of_the_January_29_2017_AGM Meeting Highlights: 29 members and guests attended.  Guests included Jan Slomp, National Farmers Union; Sean Dory, Young Agrarians; James Street, Food Processing Consultant with the BC Ministry of Agriculture. Institutes presented their reports and upcoming events and activities. District A has a representative on the Coastal Invasive Species Committee.  Copies of Field Guide to Noxious Weeds and Other Selected Invasive Plants of BC were distributed. There is a new Mid-Island Farmers' Institute.  They have 70 members. District A will have a booth at the Islands Agriculture Show on Feb3/4, and will be presenting in the Community Agriculture section. In June of 2016 there was an advisory board meeting with the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister, with Superintendant of Farmers' Institutes and person in charge of Meat Processing.  Six items were discussed, and meat regulation issues, wildlife issues, invasive species and year-round Farmers' markets were highlighted for discussion.  The Farmers' Institutes are to identify items that they would like discussed at the upcoming meeting in June 2017. Dues were discussed.  They are currently set at $5.00 per member, to a maximum of $200, as institutes can afford. There was discussion about strengthening ties between farmers institutes around the province, especially now that FARM Community Council is being disbanded so there will be no representation to BC Agriculture Council. District A is considering a Website, Brochure, Card, Facebook presence - generic materials which individual institutes can add their information to ie staple a card, put a sticker on. Elections President Janet Thony Vice President Blaine Hardy Treasurer Kathy Millar Secretary Marion  Woloschuk For more information contact Barbara Johnstone Grimmer