BC’s agriculture sector gathered to grow their knowledge and relationships at the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford, January 30-February 1, with more than 8,500 people attending.
A chance to recognize the accomplishments of the past year and be nourished for the future occurred the night before the event kicked off, however, with the annual gala dinner organized by the BC Agriculture Council.
The evening saw Monica Bradbury, a teacher at Ballenas Secondary School in Parksville, recognized as the Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation of BC’s outstanding teacher of the year. Her work as an ambassador for AITC and efforts to give students a deeper understanding of where food comes from received special mention.
With a special focus on agroecology, sustainability and food procurement, she has given students a chance to understand food not just as something from the grocery store but a sustaining part of communities and the planet.
Scotiabank presented the champion of agriculture award to Steve Thomson, no stranger to BC’s farm community thanks to ranching roots that run back to 1896 in the Okanagan. Thomson’s own career allowed him to play pivotal roles as executive director of the BC Agriculture Council and later, as a provincial politician, minister of agriculture and more recently of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development.
“It’s a real surprise and a real honour,” he said, while noting that championing agriculture is something in the reach of everyone engaged in the sector. “It’s not a stretch for all of us to be champions for the industry.”
In terms of supporting the ongoing growth of the sector, current agriculture minister Lana Popham was pleased to announce an additional $50,000 on top of the province’s existing funding for 4-H BC to support the organizations work with youth in 2020. She also announced $25,000 for AITC’s programming, specifically its Take a Bite of BC program that sees culinary arts students work with fresh BC produce.
With an eye to supporting existing producers, not just youth, Popham also announced changes to the provincial portion of the AgriStability program which will account for an additional $9 million in benefits to producers.
Watch for coverage of the gala and a recap of the Pacific Agriculture Show in the March issue of Country Life in BC.