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Stay in the loop at Sandown!

We've had a busy spring planning upcoming events, welcoming folks on-site for our open house and plant sale, conducting tours, hosting youth with the Growing Young Farmers program, pulling invasive species, and starting our regenerative gardener course!




Thank you to the Ministry of Agriculture for supporting the work we do at Sandown Centre. We're excited to be offering a two-part series on building biologically active soil with E. Brooke Hayes of the UVic Ecogastronomy Lab. Part one is a theoretical component which will take place at UVic, and part two is a hands-on component at Sandown Centre, putting knowledge into practice. Register for free for one session or both on Eventbrite here.





Our plant sale and open house was a wonderful success! Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the Sandown farmers.


Our Manager of Stewardship, Matthew Kyriakides, hosted an ivy pull as part of Make a Difference Week, on Sunday, June 2nd. Thank you to all the volunteers who came out and participated! You can join us on the last Sunday of every month for an invasive species pull on W̱S͸ḴEM territory in the forest at the top of Glamorgan Rd. In the meantime, please check out our friends at the W̱S͸ḴEM Ivy ProjectPEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱, and Habitat Acquisition Trust. They are doing fantastic work in our community and continually inspire our approach at Sandown.


We have a great group of 10 enthusiastic folks learning how to grow regeneratively with us for the next three months. St. John's United Church generously donated the leftover plants from their plant sale for us to use! All the annual vegetables were put into our new raised beds, made in partnership with ReWood, and all perennials were put into a hedgerow we installed with Gr. 12 students from Esquimalt High on their field trip to Sandown as part of Growing Young Farmers! We have already hosted 160 youth onsite since April to teach them about food literacy and stewardship, and learn together. If you would like to bring a group of students to Sandown to participate, reach out by email at info@sandowncentre.com



To learn more about the Regenerative Gardener Course and to register, go to Eventbrite. Classes take place on the last Monday of June, July, and August from 5pm - 8pm. Learn how to be a more productive home gardener and grow your own high-yielding and delicious vegetables at home. Our next session on June 24th will include garden design, irrigation, vertical growing (trellising), companion planting, and succession planting.


Click here to donate to Growing Young Farmers Society today to contribute to K-12 students coming on-site to learn about food literacy and stewardship.


Read the excerpt below from the BC Institute of Agrologists, who came for a tour at Sandown recently.

Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture Tour - Victoria & Islands Branch

On April 27 in blustery spring weather, a group of Victoria & Islands Branch registrants gathered at the edge of a large grassy field, dotted with garden plots and graced by a huge Garry oak tree. Red-winged blackbirds trilled and swooped through vegetation in a seasonal wetland filling the middle of the field. A few farmers wove through the plots, tending to early season tasks. The group of agrologists were attending a tour of the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture. As the tour began they quickly learned that the beauty and complexity of the landscape around them extends across both time and space, reaching across thousands of years and down through thick layers of soil. Sandown’s Restoration & Stewardship Manager led the tour. Matthew Kyriakides, A.Ag. is a farmer, agroecologist, and soil scientist with eight years of practical farming experience. In addition to his role at Sandown, where he is responsible for developing and implementing a stewardship plan, he is conducting Ph.D. research with the University of Victoria’s Ecogastronomy Research Group on the environmental benefits and financial viability of various land care practices. The Sandown Centre is an environment and food systems non-profit organization stewarding 83 acres of farmland, seasonal wetland, meadow, and forest on traditional W̱S͸ḴEM territory in North Saanich, B.C. Sandown supports and engages with emerging growers, researchers, community members, and regional farmers to work together to build a thriving, climate change-resilient, and sustainable local food system. The land that is now stewarded by the Sandown Centre was likely once a Garry Oak Ecosystem, with meadows full of purple camas lilies (QʷⱢƏⱢ), a staple food for the W̱SÁNEĆ people. In the mid-1800s, the introduction of European farming practices disrupted the Indigenous food systems and agricultural practices. The area was farmed for grain and vegetables from the mid-1800s until the 1950s, when the farm fields were converted into a horse race track, which operated until 2001. The land is severely degraded, with extreme soil compaction, infill of rock and gravel, loss of biodiversity and invasive species pressure, loss of topsoil, and industrial debris. A substantial portion of the land functions as part of an integrated stormwater management plan for the District of North Saanich, capturing excess water that runs off from adjoining roadways and commercial areas. The Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture was founded in 2020, and began its Regenerative Farmer and restoration programs in the spring of 2021. Since its inception, Sandown has championed the land, following its organizational mission to showcase environmentally sustainable agriculture, demonstrate ecosystem and soil health restoration, and educate and empower the next generation of regenerative farmers. Thanks to all the participants for attending and asking many great questions - lots of interesting discussion came up in the group. And special thanks to Matthew - a superb farmer and advocate for the land - for leading the tour and sharing his knowledge, experience, and passion with the group. For more information about the Sandown Centre, including an option to sign up for the Centre’s newsletter, visit: https://www.sandowncentre.com/

 

Volunteer opportunity:

Want to volunteer with a farmer?

The Sandown farmers are seeking regular volunteers who are able to come once a week to lend a pair of helping hands! Reach out to Emily at info@sandowncentre.com if you want to learn from our regenerative farmers by volunteering.


Until next time, stay tuned and thank you for your continued support!












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