I live on a little semi-rural/semi-suburban street and farm on a teeny, tiny farm less than 2 acres in size. Sustainable farming on such a small piece of land is very difficult, but put in some gates, team up with the neighbours, and that’s a whole other story. Working with the neighbours on six different properties to create a friendly, cooperative venture means we are putting nearly 25 acres of arable land back into production, growing market garden crops and organic fruit, raising pigs, and using goats to do everything from clear brambles, produce fibre, milk, and soap, and work as draft animals. Ducks, chickens, and ponies round out the collection of farm animals and crops include garlic, kiwi, cherries, apples, and all manner of veggies and herbs. Plans are in the works for a local, pony-powered delivery system and the operation of a farm-stand staffed by various members of the new farm community. With energy, enthusiasm, and a vision of producing local, healthy, organic food, this group of neighbours is teaming up to create a new (certainly new to our neighbourhood!) way of living together in a community. This talk will describe the process of using a collective strategy to band together to maximize the use of even small plots of land in order to produce food. Given that Vancouver Island stores and restaurants have only a 72-hour supply of food on hand and that we now rely on off-island suppliers for more than 95% of all that we eat, it only makes sense that we work together to produce more, healthy food within our own communities.
Bio: Nikki Tate-Stratton is a writer, broadcaster, and small-scale farmer who lives on a tiny farm on the Saanich Peninsula.