As part of my volunteer work with Food Matters Chilliwack it was recommended that some of us from FMC attend this years BC Food Systems Network conference. As a grassroots start-up group in Chilliwack we are learning how to network, communicate, coordinate, plan and function as a group that not only puts plans into action but that can plan the plans for the future.
In terms of a such a new group (we’ve been going for 7 months) I wasn’t sure if we would really be able to contribute much or if this gathering would benefit our group in any way.
Hesitantly I agreed to go, unsure of what to expect. A few days before the gathering we were told that there would be no cellphone access and limited internet access. As a web addict and text-a-maniac this information led to a momentary panic attack. Be that disconnected from the world for that long? Seriously? uhhh NO THANKS! By that point though I was locked into going.
The drive up was so much fun, the four car-buddies bonded so much, I think that we hurt from laughing. I made some casual observations about the overwhelming number of truckers that pick their nose along the highway (I swear almost all of them were) and others shared too much information of hotel experiences.
We drove along the Hope-Princeton and on through Osoyoos, GrandForks, Midway, Keremeos. Stopped at delicious fruit places, coffee shops, and Jerseyland Dairy (picked up AMAZING cheese).
We ate our way to Ymir.
Rolling into Ymir, and we were transported back 100 years. No stoplight in this town, I believe this is the first town I’ve slept in that had just one stop sign! This my friends is REAL BC.
Checked into Hotel Ymir with friendly owner Hans, gained a wife, and then headed up to room 308. The room had a bunk bed, I got the top bunk (which had ONE glorious bar of cellphone coverage, as long as I held the phone “just so”).
After check-in and a little mingling it was time to head to the Ymir Community Hall. The hall provided our main meeting area for the duration of the conference. It was a great space to connect and mingle…and Julie in the kitchen created some amazing FOOD. As a foodies meet-up, we had to eat!
Abra, who has been running the BCFSN listserv, is stepping aside this year, and she opened the evening for us. Not everyone had arrived yet, so there only 40 of us there for the small opening night gathering. We all shared some brief bio information of our selves and then had some time to network before heading back to the hotel for some connection in the restaurant/pub.
The owner had an impromptu band area set up that housed a variety of instruments: piano, keyboard, guitars, harps, ukulele’s, maracas, cowbell (MORE COWBELL), microphones, drums…etc. A few people jammed, the rest of us chattered about life, the drive and connection.