Agriculture Support Workers in the Alberni Valley are feeling excited about upcoming agricultural initiatives in the community.
Heather Shobe and Anna Lewis are contracted Agricultural Support Workers by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) who help to ensure recommendations in the Alberni Valley Agriculture Plan are implemented and support agriculture and farmers in the Valley.
The 2011 Alberni Valley Agricultural Plan identified and set a long-term goal of a viable and thriving agricultural community and 40 per cent regional food security by the year 2031.
Since then Shobe and Lewis, who both have backgrounds in agriculture, have interviewed farmers and conducted extensive surveys to see what is needed to sustain agriculture in the ACRD.
The plan is now in phase three.
“For phase three we want to continue to support members of the community, in the agricultural community and the residents,” Shobe said.
Another significant focus for the support workers is the Island Agriculture Show, coming up in the Valley on Feb. 3–4 2017. This will be the first year Port Alberni has hosted the trade show.
The Island Agriculture Show began in 2011 in Cowichan as a joint initiative of the agricultural and economic development organizations from across Vancouver Island to promote agriculture and professional development for farmers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
“It’s a huge event and we really want to showcase what we have here, both in agriculture and the community as a whole,” Shobe said. “We also want to highlight the West Coast portion of the ACRD so include some of the marine production and some of the people from out there.”
This year the focus for the show is “growing with the Alberni Valley—new and innovative agriculture” which entails incorporating new ideas for the future of farming.
In addition, the show will highlight local solutions, small scale farming, aquaculture, wineries, breweries and local marketing and land leases.
Events will take place at Glenwood Centre and the Fall Fair grounds.
Shobe said this will be a big event and invites anyone interested to attend a planning meeting for the agricultural show on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the ACRD office at 7 p.m. “We want everyone to come out and give feedback and develop this as a community.”