A friendly place for Community Supported Agriculture

An introduction to the workings of the new Community Supported Agriculture program in the Columbia Valley.

A selection of valley-grown veggies.

A selection of valley-grown veggies.

Well, it’s 2011, and things are getting going again around the farm. After a long snowy winter the ice is melting and the ground is softening.

If you look carefully you can already see signs of spring. Pussy willows are blooming; one of the first shrubs to awaken, and the bees are searching out the protein-rich pollen.

Soon you will see crocuses and forsythia blooming, followed closely by daffodils and tulips.

Spring is in the air and it’s creeping up fast, already the weeds in your garden are starting to take root. What? Things are already growing? Yes, yes they are.

It’s time to get gardening and if you don’t have time to care for a vegetable garden you don’t have to worry because there is a CSA in this valley. What? A Centre for Sustaining Arts? No no.

A Community Supported Agriculture program, haven’t you heard? Edible Acres sells shares in their farms’ produce.

They provide a box of produce once a week for the summer, 16 weeks in all.

Who is Edible Acres you ask? Well it’s a market garden that is owned by Winderberry Nursery. The produce is completely organic and the farm is the first of its kind in the valley.

But really, what is a CSA? Let me explain, a Community Supported Agriculture program is a way for the farmer to sell directly to the consumer, YOU! But, it’s more complex than that. When a person buys a share in the CSA they buy in with the understanding that they are providing the farmer with the startup money to buy seeds and other input costs. The members also want to protect the farmland from other interests, such as development. 

What do you get out of it?

Moving into our third year of production, Edible Acres has been host to pre-schoolers learning about plants, to elementary students who have energy to burn, high school students who want to learn about food and where it actually comes from, as well as college students who are interested in the career opportunities that are associated with horticulture.

And we haven’t even talked about the veggies.

As a member, you receive the freshest vegetables possible.

The produce is picked and packaged for pick-up all in the same day. Your box of vegetables awaits your arrival with the dew of the morning still on the leaves.

Now it’s not all crunchy cabbage and fairy dust, some years the conditions for growing turnips are bad, so you don’t get any in your box that year.

That’s the way it is with farming, some times it is so rainy that the cucumbers get moldy before you can harvest them.

Other years there are so many cukes that you don’t know what to do with them all, so you have to slip them in your friends’ cars when they aren’t looking. As a CSA member you understand the risks of growing in an ever-changing environment.

Now if you are interested in being part of this innovative opportunity you can contact Lin Steedman or Oliver Egan at edibleacrescsa@gmail.com for more information.

This is an ongoing project and if you can’t get in this year, then put yourself on the waiting list for next season.

Or you can visit our market stall every Saturday at the Invermere Farmers’ Market.

We look forward to growing for you, and with you.

Oliver Egan

Special to the Echo