In the spring of 2017, LAFS received funding from the Investment Agriculture Foundation Grow Forward Program to offer a series of six agriculture-related workshops. Every season, LAFS partners with one of 6 Upper St’át’imc communities to offer these workshops.
The series started in the spring with a two day workshop on growing organic food, hosted by T’ít’q’et First Nation and offered by Thompson Rivers University.
In the summer, it was Sekw’el’was’ turn to host and this time the workshop was on water preservation, efficient irrigation and xeriscaping. 25 participants attended. Jim Dobrovolny from Delta Irrigation provided a very engaging talk about water wise irrigation – he answered questions about practical aspects of providing the best irrigation with the least water and had examples from farms in the area to demonstrate his teaching points. We had a phone conference with Jaime Garbutt, Outreach Coordinator for the Kamloops Sustainability Program, and learned about that city’s methods for conserving water. Splitrock Environmental then hosted a tour of their facilities and talked about xeriscaping and using indigenous plants.
Our latest workshop, which was hosted by Xwísten this fall, was attended by 20 participants. Greg Smith presented on pruning fruit trees and the participants asked many questions and shared their own experiences.
Greg drew on his years of experience farming in the area and shared humorous stories about some of his less successful enterprises and the learnings attached. The talk was engaging and informative. In the afternoon Kim North and Candice Jack did a presentation about bringing indigenous plants into the garden and we took a walk to the community garden. We looked at some native plants and talked about laying out a landscape for a garden. Participants received complimentary copies of Naturescape booklets provided by Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF).
We then had a look at an overgrown fruit tree where Greg demonstrated how pruning would be approached for the best fruit production. During the day, Candice Jack, Xwísten community member, shared her expertise about St’at’imc traditional use of plants. A big thank you to
Fountainview participants who brought along fruit for the workshop which we enjoyed and shared with the community.
Our next workshop will take place this winter and will likely touch on seed-saving and keeping chickens in one’s backyard. Stay tuned for more details!