Farmers on 57th: growing living food
Gardens are a natural way for a community to come together: at the farmer’s garden on 57 and Cambie, people come to picnic, exercise, commune with the stars, learn about gardening, sit in the garden, suntan and even the coyotes drop in at dusk. Gardens are a dimension of our lives that affirm life for all things.
Five women started this organic market garden last year on land at the George Pearson Centre in Marpole. This year it became a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program. CSA is a group of people who pledge to support a local farm with a monetary investment. They pay the farmers at the start of the season so the farmers have an income that enables them to grow food for the CSA members. Members get a box of food every week from June to September. Other benefits are newsletters with recipes, direct contact with the garden and experienced gardeners, as well as work parties, workshops and celebrations.
Part of the experience is sharing the risks as well as the benefits of live food production. It is the real experience of eating locally, seasonally and organically. Ultimately, nature decides what the members receive and when.
With the CSA share price, members are investing in an alternative food system. It is one that is focussed on a fairer wage to the people who grow food and focussed on growing good quality food locally, making it the freshest and most nutritious food around.
Katherine Oblock, “It is different this year. Every year is variable. The tomatoes and cucumbers are small. It has been slow and late but we are still producing a nice bounty.
It’s always nice to have more but you can’t always have what you want. I’m incredibly grateful for how well the kale and chard are doing this year.
I garden because I enjoy it, being able to connect with nature, being outside, connecting with the plants. My selfish reason is I want to be self-sufficient and I get closer every year.
We started the CSA because the farmer’s market last year was not consistent for us selling our produce. The waste was disappointing. CSA is a nice way to build community, to help people feel welcome in our shared spaces. I host workshops on sprouts, juicing, and living kitchens. It’s important for people to feel empowered so they will grow their own food. There is nothing better than to be able to grow the highest quality, living food for yourself.”
Katherine with her edible bouquets: calendula flowers, parsley, chard, kale
A CSA family coming to pick up CSA children helping
their food box & to be in the garden.
Volunteers dropping by to help Companion plants: cabbage & leeks