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Residing in the Creston Valley/North Kootenay Lake area, Aaron works as the economic development lead for Factor 5 Group. With an expertise in recruitment and project management, Aaron is responsible for leading teams, managing diverse projects, and highlighting dynamic events to connect with the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aaron mobilized community, regional and provincial partners around strategic priorities, including coordination of a migrant worker camp in Creston to ensure local farms had the workers they needed with safe accommodations.
Aaron enrolled in the CED program with the goal of learning about the foundation and strategies for building economic resilience. He hopes to use the knowledge gained in the courses to assist in growing his local economy through sustainable business development.
For his final project, Aaron focused on agrotourism in the Creston Valley. Specifically, he developed a plan to augment the growing tourism sector by shining a spotlight on the established cherry and apple farms that host tours and encourage other farmers to start hosting tours. With validation from stakeholders, Aaron developed the project in three-phases, starting with self-guided tours in phase one, followed by implementing museum day at the tour for a modest fee during the second and lastly, hosting farm-to-table events that pair chefs with farms to prepare fundraiser-plated meals.
With plans to begin phase one in October 2022, Aaron hopes that creating a vibrant agrotourism industry, like the Okanagan, will increase the volume of visitors to the general area and duration of their stays. If successful, this will directly benefit participating agricultural operators as well as surrounding local businesses.