Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Community Gardens

Community Gardens are now available for registration.
Size: 20 ft x50 ft
Cost: $40 per year
Information and registration: Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society,
c/o 107 Castle Cross Road,
Salt Spring Island BC V8K 2G1
email: ssifarmlandtrust@shaw.ca
Phone: 250 537 5302

The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society is pleased to announce the first food producing activity to be offered on the Fulford Property. Located  at 2232 Fulford-Ganges Road, within view of Mt. Maxwell and with Reid Creek flowing through it year round, the Fulford property has been active farmland for over 100 years. For six years, the owners of the land, Three Point Properties worked with the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute and the Islands Trust, to see this sixty acres of agricultural land transferred to our island for farming. Gifted to the community in conjunction with an Islands Trust rezoning bylaw and now under management of the SSI Farmland Trust Society, community gardens on the Fulford property are being prepared for islanders wanting to produce food.

The SSI Farmland Trust is currently working to put in place the necessary infrastructure for approximately 80 to 100 community garden plots (20 x 50 ft). The community gardens area is being drained, tilled, fenced and readied for planting in late spring. Plans for limited parking with access to the main gate are also in the works. Generous funding for the initial infrastructure, including deer fencing and water irrigation, is being provided by the Salt Spring Island Foundation from the Shaw Family Fund.  The Shaw Family operated a dairy farm for many years in the Fulford Valley.

Gardens are being developed in conjunction with SSI Community Services with the help of grants from Vancouver Island Health Authority Community Food Action Initiative. SSI Community Services is also planning to apply a portion of a Victoria Foundation grant to the building of a greenhouse on the community garden site.  Food security programs have steadily grown at Community Services to include gardening, food preserving, and meal preparation. Support from the Berman Foundation has enabled SSICS to hire a garden and food programs coordinator, who will assist the Farmland Trust in the planning and design of the community gardens.

Occupying only six of the sixty acres of agricultural land available, the community gardens are the first initiative of what the SSI Farmland Trust Society sees as the potential of the Fulford Property. The future model will see this farmland become one of the island’s newest and most valuable assets involving a mixture of private tenants, including young food producing farmers to use the land to its ‘highest and best use’, the produce from which will sustain local residents, restaurants and food outlets.

The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society was founded in 2009 and received Charitable Status under the income Tax Act in May 2011. The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society’s vision of maintaining the pastoral and agricultural heritage of Salt Spring Island is a priority of this community’s Area Farm Plan. The Farmland Trust was established to help this community turn the corner on the eroding farm base on Salt Spring and provide opportunities to young farmers. It is the vision of the Farmland Trust to help create access to affordable land, while offering other compatible agricultural uses for the community.

To reserve a plot in the community gardens on the Fulford property, please send your name, phone number and email to ssifarmlandtrust@shaw.ca or 250 537 5302. The cost will be $40 per year. You will need to bring your own tools, watering hose and compost.

Finally, the Farmland Trust Society, working with a limited budget, is recruiting volunteers. Typically, volunteers on Salt Spring Island possess an incredible range of knowledge and skills, patience, good humour and goodwill. Individuals who wish to support this worthwhile project with some volunteer hours or equipment (for ditching, fencing, soil moving and soil preparation) are asked to contact the email or phone number above.

Marguerite Lee, President.

 

SHAW FAMILY COMMUNITY GARDENS GUIDEBOOK:

 http://ssifi.org/community-gardens-2

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