Training in Organic Farming – Online + On-farm!
The Organic Farming Institute of British Columbia (ofibc.org) offers first-rate training in organic farming. Unique in Canada, OFIBC training is designed to meet the needs of farmers. Courses are a combination of rich and varied online learning built around in-depth training on working organic farms. The Similkameen Valley is the perfect place for an organic farming training centre. It has the highest concentration of organic farms in Canada.
Jacques was the lead designer and developer (using Articulate Studio and Moodle) of OFIBC’s first 3 courses on Organic Soil Management, Transitioning to Organic Methods and Organic Vegetable Production, working closely with Lee McFadyen, long-time organic farmer in the Similkameen Valley and key contributor to provincial and national organic certification standards. These courses were quite a challenge to develop, but our mission was to make this knowledge available to farmers in the most efficient and dynamic way possible.
The online parts of the courses include varied interactive activities, knowledge and practical assignments, collaboration with other students, wikis, databases of additional resources, video demonstrations, and online support from an expert instructor. For a small sample of an interactive activity, click HERE. There are also sample materials available on the OFIBC Moodle site HERE.
In collaboration with colleagues at 7th Floor Media and also with Lee McFadyen, Graham Gore (first chair of the OFIBC board) and Michael McLaughlin (former EDO in the Similkameen Valley), I also worked some years ago on the creation and launch of OFIBC. We organized and co-facilitated the kick-off focus group where 35 community leaders selected an Organic Farming Institute as a winning strategy for using rural broadband capacity for education and sustainable economic development in the Similkameen Valley, co-authored the OFIBC strategic plan and Business Plan, and toiled in fundraising to get the OFIBC off the ground.