British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast has a long history of farming and agriculture based businesses. In 1915, 32 farmers in Powell River founded a farmers’ institute to improve the conditions of rural life.
On October 23rd 2014, the Sunshine Coast Agricultural Area Plan identified the formation of a Farmers’ Institute as a strategic goal for the lower Sunshine Coast.
In 2018, a group of farmers met about the idea of creating a local farmers’ institute. At the meeting, three questions where asked of the attendees:
- Do we want a Farmers’ Institute? 25 in attendance indicated yes
- How many people would become members? 22 people indicated they would
- How many people are willing to sit on the board? 7 indicated they would run for a position on the Board.
Five people came forward after the December 11, 2018 meeting to be subscribers and complete the SSCFI application; Raquel Kolof, Robin Dutcher, Jill Hemmings, Shannon Vanderwoerd, and Steve Reed.
Our application was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Superintendent of Farmers’ Institutes and on December 20, 2019 our incorporation was granted and we became the Southern Sunshine Coast Farmers’ Institute.
After a career in education, Raquel moved to the Sunshine Coast 6 years ago to begin a lifelong dream of building a regenerative farm. She now operates Hough Heritage Farm and raises free-range, pastured Berkshire pigs and Angora goats. Raquel is a founding member of the SSCFI and is honoured to support small-scale farmers all along the coast.
Robin brings a broad range of experience from the resort and hotel industry, to her legal studies and 16 years of self employment. Robin has been invaluable to the bottom line of the SSCFI as Vice President and Treasurer, and as liaison to other non-profit groups within the community.
Joy’s career in business development and marketing has spanned the last 20 years in Vancouver, Kelowna, Scotland, and now the Sunshine Coast. With a background in graphic design and web development, her current professional role focuses on strategic business development for an international architectural and engineering corporation. As a Director with SSCFi, Joy enjoys sharing her business development acumen with local farmers to help their businesses thrive.