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Island Agriculture Show moving to Comox Valley

For the first time, the annual Islands Agriculture Show is coming to the Comox Valley, Feb. 13 and 14, 2015.

For the past three years, the show has been held in Duncan at the Cowichan Exhibition Park.

The show has been held in Duncan consecutively to build a stable foundation and to secure a funding model to ensure success, says Kathy Lachman, president of the Islands Agriculture Show Society (IASS).

After three years, it's time for a change, she adds.

Having the Islands Agriculture Show in the Comox Valley makes the show more accessible since the location will be different.

"There's a mandate to keep it fresh and vibrant. Doing new things, creating new products and services for Vancouver Island farmers, and moving the show around will help that," Lachman says.

The IASS works to communicate with the agricultural community that is hosting to make sure that the main presentations and speakers address relevant topics.

"If Comox Valley farmers say there's an issue, we know it's going to be an issue for other farmers on (the rest of) Vancouver Island as well," Lachman says.

There are typically about 14 sessions over the two days, as well as information booths, trade show vendors, and food vendors present. "The purpose of the show is not to make money but to provide education and working opportunities to the farming community."

Gary Rolston, agricultural development officer of the Comox Valley Economic Development and Tourism, believes the Comox Valley is a natural choice as the next host.

"I think the diversity of the agri-food sector and the inclusion of aquaculture will enhance the show in 2015," Rolston says.

The president of the Comox Valley Exhibition agrees that the Comox Valley is arguably one of the best farming communities on Vancouver Island.

"The Comox Valley is well-respected in the province and a go-to place for agriculture. The innovation makes the Valley special," Andrew Quinn says.

Quinn adds that whether someone owns a small farm or a larger operation, there are many opportunities to meet people and gain information to help achieve their agricultural goals.

"It's definitely a networking opportunity for everyone. The show has something for everybody."

The show will be held at the Florence Filberg Centre and the Native Sons Hall in downtown Courtenay.

For more information on the Islands Agriculture Show, visit www.iashow.ca or call 250-748-0822.

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