Earlier this year, the BC Co-op Association re-focused on engaging with agriculture and food co-ops after research was conducted by Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2019. Pairing the sharing of the research findings with celebrating Co-op Week, we hosted two “pulse check” consultation sessions with BC’s agriculture and food co-operatives to identify opportunities and challenges for the sector. The first, held on October 18, heard from representatives of small and start-up co-ops. The second, held on October 21, invited representatives from large and established co-ops to provide their input. We thank those who attended for their participation and insight! This information will help inform how BCCA can support agriculture and food co-ops, and assist us in the program development for BC’s first-ever Agriculture and Food Co-op Conference.
Pulse Checks: Small & Start-Up Agriculture & Food Cooperatives (October 18) and Large Agriculture & Food Cooperatives (October 21)
The small and start-up group identified several points related to the three challenge areas from the KPU survey:
- Membership, management and human resources (member recruitment & participation, conflicting ideals and values, hiring and retaining staff)
- Resources, infrastructure, and capital (access to capital & grants, access to experts & resource materials)
- External factors and stressors (competition, lack of understanding, financial regulations)
Opportunities that are particularly well-suited to the co-op model included enhancing value chain integration and group buying. The consultation with large and established co-ops focused on external factors and stressors. Points that were identified by both groups were co-ops helping other co-ops and building awareness about the co-op model with funders, policy makers, and the public. These are both threads that BCCA is weaving together in the conference planning and ongoing government relations work.
“Data in Agriculture” Webinar (October 20)
Leading up to a Big Data Revolution in the Canadian Agricultural Sector Symposium, Bill Oemichen and Dr. Marc-André Pigeon provided an overview of what data is being collected, the value that is created from this data, challenges with data ownership and access, and next steps in this conversation about big data in agriculture. This webinar was recorded and posted online – click here to view. Special thanks to the Alberta Community & Co-operative Association for co-hosting this webinar with us.
Continuing the Conversation
The BCCA is pleased to present BC’s first-ever Agriculture and Food Co-op Conference and Big Data in Agriculture Symposium, which will be held in Kamloops at Thompson Rivers University on February 24 and 25, 2022. To learn more about this upcoming event, please click here. Stay tuned to the BCCA website for program details that will be posted in November. If you are interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities or having a Trade Show booth, please contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.