It is a special kind of farm, showing the will of an entire community to develop a small scale local healthy agriculture for all. The land is provided by the city in the middle of a suburb and is about 9 acres of which 5,5 is farmed and the others are protected as natural reserves.
The place is designed as a farm incubator whereby the 5 different little farms can test out their techniques and markets with a one-time renewable 4 year lease. There are about 30 different people working on the farm. The incubator provides a ready made brand and commercial channels to support the starting farmers.
The farms collective shares a common vision and its respect is a condition to get accepted as a newcomer when one of the leases is up. This vision is stewarding the land, supporting local farming, educating and outreach and food growing.
The farms are off grid mainly, get water from the city as well main infrastructure such as a building which can be used for taking meals, meetings and offices.
One of the farms is Saarich Native Plants and they are a nursery of native plants and take on landscaping restauration projects outside the farm. They have reintroduced a huge biodiversity of plants in the protected area wetland at the back of the land. They also use it as a seed saving meadow. The animal and insect life there is thriving.
This incubator is a great idea to give access to land to young farmers in order to test out their ideas, gain experience in all aspects of such an enterprise. The prices of land, including agricultural land, are through the roof and it is next to impossible to purchase land on Vancouver island unless you are already really rich nowadays. Finding possibilities to lease the land are then nearly the only options and are not so easy to find.