Campus Life  

Vale Farms a model for visiting sustainable business students

Okanagan College Media Release

Students in professor Arnica Rowan’s Sustainable Enterprise class at Okanagan College donned their gumboots on Monday and made a trip to Lumby to visit a working cattle and sheep farm.

“We drove out to Vale Farms because they are a model of sustainable practices in the agricultural industry,” said Rowan. “This family farm demonstrates that operating an ethically-driven business can be very successful.”

The farm is certified organic, SPCA certified, and sells their grass-fed meats directly to the public through Okanagan farmer’s markets.

“We used to be a conventional farm,” explained Don Hladych, Vale Farms manager. “But once you start farming the way we do now – you just can’t go back.”

The third- and fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration students learned about niche marketing, the process of becoming an organic farm, and right-sizing a business. They also chased sheep and took a lamb inventory while Hladych performed non-surgical castrations.

The field trip was the first of many connections with the Okanagan green economy for Rowan’s Sustainable Enterprise class.

“Going green is no longer a fad or a way of capturing a new market,” stated Rowan. “It’s a completely different way of doing business that values an organization’s community and environmental impact as much as the bottom line.”

In the challenging course, students learn to do a triple-bottom-line report, an industrial ecology plan, and a green business impact assessment.

“The students love the course because they get to see a whole new approach, and learn how to apply their analytical business skills in a new realm. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”

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