British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast has a long history of farming and agriculture. In 1915, 32 farmers in Powell River founded a farmers’ institute to improve the conditions of rural life.
On October 23, 2014, the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s Agricultural Area Plan identified the formation of a Farmers’ Institute as a strategic goal.
On December 11, 2018, a group of farmers met about the idea of creating a local farmers’ institute.
Five people came forward after the 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, sheep and goats. Raquel is a founding member of the SSCFI and is honoured to support small-scale farmers all along the coast.
Vice President & Treasurer
Robin and her small family moved to the Coast in 2015, to a small farm with 99 chickens and 3 goats. She has now added Icelandic sheep to the mix, raising them for their fleece and to sell as homestead animals. Robin brings a broad range of experience from the Resort and Hotel industry, her legal studies and her 16 years of self employment to aid in the financial, website building, and policy procedure development of our Farmers Institute.
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.