Farm to Fork

What is Farm to Fork?

Exploring our food systems, from seed to plate and back again.

A fun, educational and relaxing retreat series on Gambier Island for aspiring farmers, new gardeners and general ambassadors of local, healthy food.

  • Hands-on learning and skill application in the kitchen and garden for adults and youth
  • Multiple workshop leaders eager to share their extensive knowledge
  • Integrated wellness activities and reflection time
  • Connection with new and eager community members
  • Inspiration to try something new when you return home
  • Morning yoga, afternoon hikes, ocean swimming, evening campfires, youth programming, and fresh, healthy meals

Two retreats will run in 2013: Summer (June 14-16) and Fall (September 27-29).

Kids learning farming

Why attend?

  • You yearn for a plot in the community garden but don't know how to start.
  • You want to share your passion for farming or cooking with like-minded folk.
  • You warily keep your fridge full with condiments and your oven layered with dust.
  • You want to save the world. (And we commend you for it!)

How to attend?

Register now for Summer Retreat: June 14-16!


Includes morning yoga with Claire MacDonald. Book a Swedish massage with Ren Levy for additional fee: $40 per hour, $20 per 30 minutes, or service trade (please discuss with Ren directly). To guarantee a session with Ren, please email organizer, Jill Wheatley, in advance. Payment should be made onsite, via cash or cheque made out to Ren Levy.

Water taxi:

Transportation to Fircom is provided by a 30-minute water taxi from Horseshoe Bay. Friday departure from Horseshoe Bay at approximately 5:00 pm. Dinner will be served upon arrival. Sunday departure from Fircom at approximately 3:00 pm.


  • Adult (age 15+), Heated accommodation: $295
  • Adult (age 15+), Unheated ** accommodation: $270 
  • Adult (age 15+, part-time child-minding ***), Heated accommodation: $175
  • Adult (age 15+, part-time child-minding), Unheated accommodation: $150
  • Kid (age 14 and under), Heated: $145
  • Kid (age 14 and under), Unheated: $115

Registration closes June 14. All rates cover meals, accommodation, programming and water taxi to and from Horseshoe Bay. Taxes and fees not included.

** Unheated accommodation includes choice of cabin, on-site teepee or bring your own tent. Heated accommodation provided in Craigcroft Lodge.
*** If you are an adult attending with a kid, you are expected to provide child-care and participate part-time in activities. Kids programming will be available to facilitate games and use of site however no full-time childcare is provided.

Workshop Descriptions:

Fermented Foods Workshop: Join chef Andrea Potter, R.H.N., for a taste of her popular Fermented Foods cooking class and learn why this ancient food-preservation method is making a dramatic comeback. Get a taste for this probiotic-rich food and learn to make vegetable sauerkraut safely and easily at home.

Intro to Permaculture: Apply the fundamentals of ecological design theory with Sara Dent and discuss ways you can reclaim space in your community for resilient food-scapes.

Build a Mini Hoop House: Want to harvest salad greens in January? Want to finally get an amazing crop of basil? Learn how to build a self-standing, mobile structure with Gray Oron so you can extend your kitchen's growing season for a year-round harvest.

Gourmet Salad Bar: Harvest delicious edibles from the garden with farmer Jill Wheatley and indulge in a seasonal salad paired with fresh dressings by Fircom chef, Ana-Luz Cobon. (She may even share her recipe!)

Workshop Leaders:

Sara Dent (Intro to Permaculture): Sara is a trained organic farmer and Certified Permaculture Designer through the Linnaea Ecological Garden Programme (Cortes, BC), as well as a Permaculture Teacher with the Urban Permaculture Guild (California). She has farmed across B.C. and in Mexico. She brings her enthusiasm for organic matter and growing local, along with her training as a facilitator to permaculture education. She is the co-founder of Young Agrarians.

Gray Oron (Build a Mini Hoop House): Gray is an urban farmer and backyard gardener currently living in Vancouver. Having grown up in Israel, Gray was exposed to the magic and flavour of seasonal, local, fresh food. In 2002, he moved to North America where he continued his education and balanced work as a software engineer with farming. In the past three years, Gray has begun growing food commercially on various scales. He co-founded Fresh Roots Urban Farm and continues to gain plots across the city. Gray is passionate about waste reduction, cycling, and community building.
Claire MacDonald (Morning Yoga): Passionate about health science and the progress of healing, Claire’s thirst to grow and share her yoga practice has taken her across Canada, to India, the US and Central America. She has been enthusiastically involved with Fircom for over 20 years. She is a graduate of the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, 3000-hour program, and has over a decade of experiential body knowledge through study of yoga and dance. Claire teaches Yin, Restorative, Hatha and Vinyasa Flow yoga. She provides an accessible practice that will support, challenge and nourish you.
Andrea Potter (Fermented Foods Workshop): Andrea is a Red Seal Chef and Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Through her business, Rooted Nutrition, Andrea helps transforms personal health, community health and the overall health of our planet. She teaches healthy cooking classes, supports food and sustainability initiatives and integrates healthy choices into the lives of home cooks, gardeners, holistic practitioners and students.
Ana-Luz Cobon (Gourmet Salad Bar): Having studied culinary arts at Vancouver Community College and permaculture design at UBC Farm, Ana-Luz now combines her passions for local, sustainable food practices and creating nutritious, wholesome food as Fircom's head chef. She proudly incorporates composting and zero-waste practices in her kitchen and believes that quality ingredients make good food that feeds mind, body and soul. Ana-Luz is excited to have chickens, pigs and bees soon join Fircom's farm and food system!

Ren Levy (Swedish massage): Navigating the world of somatic knowledge has proven to be an incredible adventure for Ren. During this retreat, she will apply her knowledge and offer Swedish massage sessions to participants! (See booking details above.) In December, Ren will complete the West Coast College of Massage Therapy diploma program. She also sells biodynamic fruit at the Vancouver Farmers Markets and, when possible, she harvests, processes and bakes whatever is in season.

Organizer: Jill Wheatley (Fircom Land and Farm Coordinator): Involved at Fircom since 2002, Jill is especially connected to the “farm to forest” aspect of Gambier Island. She strongly believes that cultivating wholesome food is the perfect gateway to natural exploration. She particularly enjoys taking children and youth on harvesting adventures, on the farm and in the forest. Jill’s studies in sustainable resource management, permaculture design and urban agriculture have helped develop and implement Fircom’s farm programs. Her passion for and knowledge of native and cultivated plants inspire Fircom visitors through the seasons. Her favourite vegetable is the beet.

Save the date for Fall Retreat: September 27-29!


  • Autumn harvest feast and thanks-giving
  • Gather and store seeds
  • Build a mason bee house
  • Press and taste fresh apple cider
  • Make your own soft cheese