What's new at Sandown? Check out what we've been up to since our last update!
It's been another busy month at Sandown, especially since the sun really started shining for the first time this year! The farmers and community gardeners are working hard, volunteers have been busy, and our team is gearing up for summer!
Special thanks to the ReWood team for making a massive contribution to infrastructure for the regenerative farmers and community gardeners. This volunteer led initiative is helping to divert landfill waste by reusing lumber to support growers! They have created hardening off racks for the farmers; a space that is used to acclimatize seedlings from the greenhouse to the field. They also made a 5-bay composting area from reused pallets, based on the design from Compost Education Centre (check out the plans below! We are extremely thankful for their hard work and dedication to supporting our local growers.
Our plant sale and open house is this Saturday, May 6th! Come get your vegetable starts, flower seedlings, and native plants for your home gardens and support the Sandown farmers! We will also be giving a farm and wetlands tour!
The Sandown farmers and team took a tour over to Farm or Die across the road to see what they've been up to! We asked farmer Brooke (who is joining the Sandown Regenerative Farmers cohort) some questions about regenerative farming, and here's what she had to say:
Why regenerative agriculture?
By farming and selling food, we are always taking plants and nutrients away from the soil. It’s important that when we replenish those nutrients it is done in a way that is going to improve soil structure, fertility and life in the soil for the next crop. We know that our livelihoods rely on working with natural systems instead of against them, so we are reducing our tilling whenever possible, we add organic compost/ amendments regularly, and we make a conscious effort to encourage diversity!
How long have you been in business?
This is our 5th season and my first season joining the Farm or Die team.
What products do you offer?
We run a CSA veggie box program and sell $35 boxes every week for 6 months each season. We also grow microgreens and are selling market garden crops for James Bay and Esquimalt Farmers Market. This year we will also be selling to the Good Food Box Program in partnership with Fernwood NRG and are always looking for new partnerships that make our veggies accessible for our community!
What do you love about Sandown?
Access to affordable land and support for new farmers are both necessary if we want to have more successful and happy farmers on Vancouver Island! I first started at Sandown by running summer camps and school garden programs for Growing Young Farmers Society. Sandown is such a great place for anyone to come, connect with their food, farmers, and ecosystem.
What have been some challenges for you?
The largest challenge for me is having to move and rebuild farms on leased land every other year! Having access to secure land is so important because it allows me to invest in my soil, plant perennials, have a long term view and continuously build on and improve my farm over time.
If you would like to support Farm or Die, sign up for their CSA today at the link below!
We had our first work party in the community gardens, where gardeners worked towards expanding our in-ground bed section! We have worked hard to create 12 new in-ground beds, expanding our community garden space.
There is just one available raised garden bed remaining in our community gardens! Join today by emailing Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org and get growing this season!
Matthew, our manager of stewardship, is continuing his work in the wetlands, forest, and meadow. He's busy creating a wetlands restoration plan with UVic Restoration of Natural Systems student Aida, helped shepherd Lorea Tomsin bring her sheep back to Sandown, and joined the forest stewards with a day of ivy pulling.
Stay tuned for more updates! Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture
The Sandown Centre is located on the traditional lands of the SENĆOŦEN speaking W̱SĺḴEM (Tseycum) peoples of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations. We respectfully acknowledge how colonialism disrupted ties between Indigenous peoples' and their traditional food ways and seek to reconcile this through thoughtful, collaborative, and inclusive land care. We are grateful for the Tseycum peoples’ careful stewardship of these lands and waters since time immemorial and to this day.