KAST - Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

KAST - Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

News Release

New Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy.

The Province has created the Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy by helping farmers farm and processors become more productive, now and in the future.

“By helping farmers put more B.C. farmland into production, our government is supporting the province’s agricultural industry and strengthening food security for all British Columbians,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We are always looking for new ideas as we continue to help farmers produce more, grow new crops and develop thriving businesses. I know the task force will identify further innovations to support the sector and I’m looking forward to receiving their recommendations.”

The three-member task force, led by Peter Dhillon, chair, with Arvind Gupta and Lenore Newman as members, will assess and provide strategic advice on opportunities to:

  • apply agri-technologies to help farmers and producers enhance productivity, increase economic competitiveness and sustainability, reduce waste and help make sure B.C. farmers are growing the food needed to meet demand;
  • expand the emerging agritech industry in B.C. as a standalone economic sector to produce technologies that will be in demand globally;
  • support the objectives of CleanBC, both through the adoption of technologies and practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • increase access to fresh, healthy food and support local economies in communities throughout B.C.

“This task force will evaluate ways of innovating in this important sector with the goal of improving access to quality, healthy food for everyone,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “It will also make recommendations to support our agritech companies as they scale up and anchor their operations here at home, creating clean jobs for British Columbians and contributing to a sustainable economy for the future.”

Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO, Innovate BC, will participate on an invited basis as an ex-officio member of the Food Security Task Force.

“B.C. has an opportunity to be the best in the world when it comes to innovation in our agricultural sector,” said Peter Dhillon. “At a time when climate change and technology are rapidly changing how we grow food, it is more important than ever that we make sure B.C.’s agritech sector has the support it needs to thrive. On behalf of the task force, we look forward to preparing a report for the government on how B.C. can help make that happen.”

The task force will speak with stakeholder groups and provide a final report to the ministers of Agriculture and Jobs, Trade and Technology by Dec. 31, 2019.

The public is invited to provide comments online: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/foodsecuritytaskforce/

Quick Fact:

  • The 2019 speech from the throne mentioned the B.C. government would launch a food security task force to consider how B.C. can harness new technologies and innovation to produce more food, jobs and prosperity, while reducing waste.

Read more…

Mining Month Luncheon Trail BC

Mining Month Luncheon | May 28th

Mining Month Luncheon 2019

May is BC Mining Month. Around the Province, communities will commemorate this vital industry and the people involved in it.

Mining is one of BC’s largest and oldest industries and BC Mining Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the importance of this modern, and ever-innovating industry to British Columbians.

Activities are planned around British Columbia to recognize the people and communities that participate in this foundational industry each and every day.

Participate in the celebration!

Be sure to join us at the Mining Month Luncheon in the Muriel Griffith’s Recital Room at Selkirk College in Trail for the Mining Month Luncheon, May 28th at 12:00 pm. Lunch will be provided.

Hear Michael Goehring, President of the Mining Association of BC, speaking about the evolution of the sector, including the latest innovations in mining. Learn about:

  • automation in operations, making mines safer than ever
  • the use of drones and how they’re improving efficiency
  • how artificial intelligence is impacting the sector
  • how virtual reality is being implemented in projects to improve engagement with communities.

This is a FREE event – Click HERE to REGISTER!

For generations, mining has generated jobs and prosperity for BC families in every region of the province. Since 1901, the Mining Association of British Columbia has been the voice and advocate for BC’s mining industry.

Mining Month Luncheon in Trail BC


Columbia Basin Trust Sustainable Energy Grants

Basin Community Buildings Get Fresh Energy – Sustainably!

Columbia Basin Buildings Get Energized - Sustainably

Renewable energy upgrades in 16 Columbia Basin community buildings will generate energy, increase energy efficiency and sustainability, and reduce energy costs.

These sustainability projects are being realized with over $650,000 in support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants.

The buildings range from community halls to aquatic centres, and activities vary from installing solar panels to adding heat pumps. Projects may also include improvements like adding insulation and replacing furnaces and lighting to help the benefits from the projects go further.

“People regularly use and appreciate these buildings, and many have told us they want to explore ways to use energy efficiently and sustainably, which is why we’ve made renewable and alternative energy one of our strategic priorities,” said Mark Brunton, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “Through these grants, these important community assets will now be equipped to generate and conserve energy, while moving into the future as inviting, comfortable spaces.”

The community of ʔaq̓am is one of the recipients. It will be adding solar panels to its new health and wellness facility, which is just starting construction.

“The community has been putting a focus on sustainable energy usage, and we realize that sustainable high-quality buildings are essential for a healthy community and ecosystem,” said Nasuʔkin Joe Pierre. “This building is a great opportunity to implement the technology, with results to be considered during future ʔaq̓am projects and shared with other interested communities.”

The Burton Community Association will be adding solar panels to its community hall, reducing power usage by switching to LED lights and adding a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station.

“Having solar power at the community hall will cut our electricity bill, plus be an opportunity for locals to see the benefits of solar and how it works,” said Board member Barbara Ross. “Adding the electric vehicle charging stations will encourage community uptake on electric vehicles and enable travelers with electric vehicles to come to the area and explore our community.”

This is one of the ways the Columbia Basin Trust is helping communities conserve energy and generate renewable and alternative energy. The Trust has supported an electric vehicle charging network across the Basin, and the Trust has helped improve energy efficiency and sustainability in 935 units in 47 affordable housing buildings in the Basin.

Clean Energy BC Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future Conference 2019

Clean Energy BC Conference – Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future 2019

Clean Energy BC Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future Conference 2019

The Clean Energy BC Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future, June 4th-6th, 2019, showcases Trail and the Kootenays’ legacy of engineering excellence and how this impacts innovation in the region’s tech sector.

Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future is a three-day conference provides a networking opportunity to connect clean energy industry professionals, community leaders, First Nations, and technology innovators; providing a platform for urban-rural knowledge sharing.

Attendees will engage in dialogue that encourages economic diversification through clean energy projects and pushing the tech frontier, recognizing the Kootenays as a thriving hub.

Who Should Attend Clean Energy BC Powering Generations?

Clean energy industry professional
Community shaper
Clean tech enthusiast
Policy designer
First Nations leader
Young professional aspiring to join the industry

Powering Generations is the ideal setting for you to collaborate, network, and share your knowledge with others!

KAST board member Jason Taylor, a specialist in digital fabrication, rapid prototyping and advanced manufacturing and an Instructor and Researcher at Selkirk College, will be speaking at Powering Generations 2019.

Jason was fundamental in the development and implementation of the MIDAS Fab Lab and will be speaking at Plenary 3 — Building the Clean Economy: Job Opportunities with CleanBC.

Join Jason at Powering Generations and register today! REGISTER NOW!

Who is Clean Energy BC?

Clean Energy BC (CEBC) is an industry association that has been the voice of BC’s clean energy industry for over 25 years. CEBC supports BC’s transition to low-carbon energy through the development of effective climate policy and clean energy electrification.

The purpose of our association is to:

    • Promote and support the growth of BC’s clean energy industry
    • Assist the growth of manufacturing, supply, and service industries in BC, serving clean energy production in the province and around the world
    • Build strong relationships with all levels of government, BC Hydro, First Nations, environmental organizations and the public to improve the sector’s social license
    • Ensure the business and regulatory climate is reasonable and efficient for operating assets
    • Improve the regulatory and economic environments for clean energy production in BC
    • Work with environmental organizations to develop science-based clean energy development models

Interested in learning more? Visit Clean Energy BC Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future.

Public Spaces Add State-of-the-Art Technology

Public Spaces Add State-of-the-Art Technology

Several public spaces throughout the Basin will enjoy becoming more high-tech with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Technology Program.

Access to state-of-the-art technology can spark opportunities to learn, connect and bring creative ideas to life. Nine communities in the Columbia Basin will soon have new digital equipment, software and other technologies that people can use for free to enhance their digital literacy and get creative. These purchases are being made with support of over $613,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Technology Program.

“In this digital world, technological resources are important, but obtaining them individually can be beyond the means of many,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Director, Delivery of Benefits, at Columbia Basin Trust. “By installing sophisticated equipment like this in public facilities and offering digital literacy programming, people of all ages and abilities will be able to use and benefit from these tech-enabled spaces.”

The two-year, $1.5-million program provides grants to registered non-profit organizations, First Nations and local governments that operate public spaces like libraries and community centres. The grants support the purchase of equipment like 3-D printers, robotics kits, recording studio equipment and computers with specialized software. If required, the organizations may also renovate their spaces and buy furniture to create suitable venues for the equipment. Programs such as classes and workshops that train people how to use the equipment are also supported.

Here are a few of the recipients:

The Fernie Heritage Library will be creating a technology hub with three main components: a digitization station that will enable people to convert old formats (for example VHS tapes) into digital forms, an editing and creation station with computers and software, and a makerspace with equipment like a 3-D printer and laser cutter.

“The technology hub will be a place for the community to use technology to make new things,” said Director Emma Dressler. “It will be a place of innovation and inspiration, where people can interact with their environment in new ways, learn new skills and come together in new ways.”

The Okanagan Regional Library’s Golden branch will be adding a range of items that will help citizens of all skill levels do sound recordings, digitize older formats (such as slides, vinyl or tape), create and modify video projects, and learn other digital skills.

“These skills are critical for citizens of all ages in the 21st century,” said Don Nettleton, Chief Executive Officer. “Having this equipment situated in the library allows all citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status, the opportunity to participate, provided they have a curious mind and a valid library card.”

In the Village of Slocan, the Learning Centre (photo above) will expand its current offerings by adding a laser cutter and engraver, 3-D printers, robotics kits, a video-conferencing station, and software. This space is run by the W.E. Graham Community Service Society.

“Through improved technology and programming, we hope to support our community members in enhancing their technology-related skills and ultimately quality of life,” said Learning Centre Manager Heather Clouston. “This will build skills and engage people in the community in new ways.”

The Community Technology Program has a two-stage application process. The next expression of interest deadline is May 6, 2019. Selected organizations will work with a program advisor to develop their project concept and write an application. Learn more at ourtrust.org/communitytech.

Selkirk College GLOWS RoboGame

Selkirk College GLOWS RobotGames 2019!

Selkirk College GLOWS RoboGame

A robot competition like no other. Youth from throughout the region will build, program and deck out their robots to enter into RobotGames – a fun and free-spirited event full of prizes.

RobotGames will take place Saturday, April 13 at the Tenth Street Campus in the Mary Hall Building. Everyone is welcome to attend! The Mary Hall Cafeteria will be open throughout the day or you can choose to bring a lunch!

Registration is FREE!

Imagination meets Technology

RobotGames is open to all youth ages 6 to 18 living in the West Kootenay/ Boundary region. No prior experience is necessary. Youth in teams of one to two people will prepare their robot for the ultimate competition event. Prizes include an iPod touch for the Balloon Popping Royal Rumble which everyone is invited to join. Other prizes will be handed out too!

Check out last year’s event:

The Big Day! What to Expect?!


  • 9 am Registration
  • 10 am Events begin
  • 2:30 pm iPod Touch Balloon Popping Royal Rumble
  • 2:45 pm Awards and Photos


  1. Line following – This event utilizes the obstacle course, except you must follow the line from end to end. There may be crossed or intersected lines, as well as obstacles to create havoc. Speed and accuracy will be highly praised. The line will be about the thickness of the electrical tape. Your mBot kit comes with a simple foldout example for line following.
  2. Obstacle course – Your robot will need to maneuver the obstacle course as quickly and carefully as possible. Navigate walls and obstacles to reach the end of the maze.
  3. Robot battles – Two robots enter the open arena to compete as gladiators in the ultimate destruction event. Matches are limited to two minutes and judges will announce a winner. The last robot to make a meaningful hit, overall match polarity and gamesmanship will be rewarded.
  4. Robot soccer: One on one – Grab the most robot soccer balls to your side in two minutes. In the center of the obstacle course is a pile for both teams to grab from. Each team has a 24″ line parallel to the back wall laying claim to your teams’ captured balls. Balls knocked out of the arena will cost you points. Balls can be stolen over and over. Robots may store the balls in some manner but must release them before the clock runs out or they will not be counted in the final score.
  5. Special tricks – Think of something cool and crazy for your robot to do. Dance, tell a joke, fetch an object… use your imagination! Program your robot to do your evil, or not so evil bidding. No dangerous weapons, water, open flames or lasers allowed. Be creative, be awesome!
  6. Balloon popping – Which robot will pop the balloon first?! Enter the ring prepared to burst the balloon before your competitor. Make sure your robot isn’t dangerous in the process. Your aim is to pop the balloon and not your competitor.

Judges will be looking for: 

  • each entry’s design and assembly
  • the programming and logic
  • the robot’s ability to problem-solve
  • the robot’s ability to adapt to challenging situations

Learn more about GLOWS at Selkirk College and follow GLOWS on Facebook. Questions about RobotGames? Please contact Matt Martin.