Education 2021-2022: Healthy Soils & Regenerative Agriculture Course

JULY, 2022 UPDATE:  Great news…  the Co-op is currently in discussions with Vancity, who’ve suggested another year of funding for a 2023 Healthy Soils Course for Southern Gulf Islands producers!

See also this new video about the 2022 course that helped Pender, Mayne, Galiano, and Saturna Food Producers, and our environment.

BACKGROUND:  In the fall of 2021, Vancity Credit Union very kindly provided funding to the Gulf Islands Food Co-op, for Southern Gulf Islands Food Producers to learn more about Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture Systems. This helps our planet with essential soil preservation and soil building, and also with more carbon sequestration by the soil.  This first “pilot” version of the course included expertise from a Kwantlen Polytechnic University soil scientist, through 4 field days (one on each island), and also 4 zoom sessions.  However, another key part of these sessions was Island Food Producer  knowledge sharing between us. 

This all happened between fall, 2021 and March, 2022, starting with a November message from Program Coordinator Ben Dunsmuir giving more details and inviting registrations.  You can see below for this initial email, and then the updates that followed.  Check back for the video coming soon!


MARCH, 2022 UPDATE:  With this first pilot course now completed, Country Life in BC magazine has just published an article that sums it up really well: CLBC April 2022 page 29-30
JANUARY, 2022 UPDATE:  It’s wonderful that over 60 people from all 4 Southern Gulf Islands have now registered for the Soils Program! (COURSE FULL, we regret no more registrations at this time).  For those registered, Coordinator Ben Dunsmuir has sent out emails about the first Zoom Session on January 12, 2022, and the four island Field Days: January 29 on Saturna; January 30 on Galiano; February 12 on Pender; and February 26 on Mayne.  Thanks for your interest, and don’t hesitate to contact Ben as above if you have any questions.


NOVEMBER 17, 2021 PRE-REGISTRATION EMAIL:  “The Gulf Islands Food Co-op is honored to continue our work in the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations and excited to invite you to the new Healthy Soils Program, which will delve into essential topics such as nutrient management, soil testing and amending, cover cropping, soil biology and physics, carbon sequestration, and more!


  • Facilitated by Kwantlen Polytechnic University (see Instructor info below)
  • 4 in-person field days with great networking opportunities (participants can choose from Pender, Mayne, Galiano, and Saturna, or attend multiple!)
  • 4 online classes and an online platform (for resource handouts, discussion, Q&A, and sharing among participants)
  • And a rich cohort of island growers!
Sponsored by Vancity Credit Union, the course will be offered on a pay-what-you-can donation basis to help support our non-profit Co-op.

COURSE INSRUCTOR:  Amy Norgaard has a MSc in Soil Science from the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes (SAL) lab at UBC, where she worked with 20 organic vegetable farms to improve nutrient management while balancing crop production with environmental stewardship.  She is a Professional Agrologist with the BCIA and teaches sustainable soil management with two Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Farm Schools and the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture.



Note: You can also see the Co-op’s previous soil building class references