Stepping it up for 2016

20140922_162845

Virginie at the Cook Street Activity Centre–Local Food Box program pick-up, summer 2014.

Dear Local Food Box members and friends,

We hope this update finds you well and off to a good start for the New Year. We have been meaning to get in touch for a while to give an update and share our plans for the season ahead.   As always, thanks to everyone who participated in and supported the Local Food Box in 2014, we love providing you with good food and really appreciate your trust and support.

After a lot of careful consideration, we have made a difficult, but we feel necessary, decision: we will not be operating the Local Food Box program and will not be growing vegetables in 2015. We are sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause, but we are happy to say that we are planning on coming back better than ever in 2016.

We are making this decision primarily because we feel the need to make some key improvements to our farming operations that we cannot do at the same time as producing food. A big one is going to be improving our soil drainage, which has been an ongoing challenge and limitation for us. Better drainage will allow us to extend our veggie-growing season beyond our current 16-week box program. We are also planning on building additional greenhouses and a walk in cooler, improving our soil mineral and nutrient balance, building a shelter for our farm machinery and tools, and more.

Spreading ramial wood chips on the orchard to improve soil and tree health at Wind Whipped Farm

So we don’t consider 2015 to be a year off because we will still be doing lots of work. We think it will pay off in the long term and we believe we will have better and more diversified farm products to offer you in 2016. For example, more greenhouse space will likely mean earlier carrots, better sweet peppers, and maybe (just maybe) sweet melons…

Cover crop–to protect the soil and build organic matter–and Garry Oaks, at Wind Whipped Farm

Ultimately, our goal is to have a farm business that can be our primary source of income and that we can manage more effectively and with a better work/life balance. Toward this end we are currently working with a business advisor to develop a business plan and adopt various business management tools. We are also looking into small-business financing options to bolster our modest savings to allow for needed farm investments.

We will keep you updated on our progress and hope to stay in touch.

We encourage you to continue supporting our box program farmers and other local producers in 2015. Stillmeadow Farm and Parry Bay Sheep Farm, who provide the fantastic Local Food Box meats, offer a weekly farm store: Saturdays, 12-3 pm at 4198 Stillmeadow Road. They are also considering options for doing their own subscription program or working with another box program so if interested please get in touch with them (contact@parrybaysheepfarm.com). For vegetables we are happy to be able to recommend Metchosin and East Sooke farms: Ragley Farm, Sea Bluff Farm, Umi Nami Farm, Eisenhower Organics and we know there are several other great local producers in the region.

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with us. We hope you will join The Local Food Box in 2016!

Alex and Virginie

4 Responses to Stepping it up for 2016

  1. Janine February 6, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    Aw, nuts. I’ll be looking forward to your 2016 season. Let me know if you guys can use help with anything that the kids could pitch in doing. Getting their hands dirty and learning a bit about farming would be great for homeschooling credit.

  2. Craig February 8, 2015 at 6:28 am #

    Now I’ll have to turn to to the Metchosin organic black market to get my fix.

  3. Jill March 28, 2015 at 1:17 am #

    I’m sad to hear I won’t be able to register for 2015 but very excited that you are investing in your farm and business. I look forward to joining in 2016, good luck with your undoubtedly eventful year ahead!

  4. Jill March 28, 2015 at 1:17 am #

    I’m sad to hear I won’t be able to register for 2015 but very excited that you are investing in your farm and business. I look forward to joining in 2016, best of luck with your undoubtedly eventful year ahead!

Leave a Reply