The Hands that Feed Us: Amara Farm

Before The Hands that Feed Us was a campaign, it was a short, 12 minute documentary featuring Arzeena Hamir and her family on their organic produce farm in Comox, B.C.

The farm works because it’s a family and a community, where love and commitment outweigh the financial rewards. read more…

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Why Food Businesses don’t stay Small

In my quest to find out why farming is such a tough business, a workshop for Food & Ag Entrepreneurs by a local Angel Investment Network caught my eye. It was a short, half-day workshop with potential investors that promised to explain the process of raising money for food businesses. Perfect! I signed up to be a fly-on-the-wall.

Post-workshop, I can safely say that I still don’t know how farmers can find investors. read more…

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What makes a Healthy Business Environment for Farmers?

What would it look like to live in a world where farmers didn’t struggle to make a living? How would it be different from our world right now? This gets right to the heart of why The Hands that Feed Us matters: Canadian farmers struggle financially because the business environment they exist in is not a healthy one.

Which begs the question: What does a healthy business environment for farmers look like? I found the beginnings of an answer talking to Eden Yesh about his work at the BC Community Impact Investment Coalition.read more…

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Your Local Farmer isn’t on Salary

One of the first rules of business I learned was this: Pay yourself first. The money you earn from working on your business — your salary — is different from the money you make by virtue of being the business owner — your profits. Which is to say, a business isn’t profitable until after it has paid your salary.

My first exposure to the business of farming was vicarious. My girlfriend at the time was taking a course in farm business models, and one of her assignments was to create a farm business plan. Naturally, I asked if I could see it…read more…

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What the Stats on Farmland Prices Don’t Tell You

The statistics are shocking. Multiply the size of the average B.C. farm (365 acres) by the average cost per acre ($5,321) and you get an average farm value of $1.9 million. Divide that by the average net profit for B.C. farmers ($26,000) and you discover that, it takes 75 years for an average farm to recoup the cost of its land — and that’s if it spends every penny of profit on the land and the mortgage is interest-free. As my pitch video for The Lands that Feed Us loudly states, “the average farmer will be dead by the time their land is paid for.”

It’s very headline worthy. It’s also not very good information. To be sure, all the stats are accurate (at least for the year 2016) — they come from Statistics Canada. But the picture they paint is … misleading. read more…

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