Brianne Fester leases land from a homeowner with a large lot on 30th Street NE and farms it with her friend Mitch Ward. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Leased land makes Radical Bloom possible for young farmers

Small Salmon Arm farm in its second year of operation sells fresh vegetables and flowers.

Brianne Fester gets a lot of satisfaction seeing the green shoots of vegetables and flowers rising from the soil of the approximately two-acre plot she farms with her friend Mitch Ward.

They call their farm Radical Bloom and harvested their first crops last year.

Rather than owning the land their plot is on, Fester and Ward lease the property from the owner, who lives on site, just steps from the edge of the tilled soil. Leasing land in this way isn’t a common arrangement in the Shuswap, but Fester said there are benefits for everyone involved.

As the property Fester and Ward farm is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the owner can claim farm use and enjoy the tax benefits that come with the budding agricultural operation on their land.

Fester said there is lots of land for anyone who wants to get into a lease agreement; she added that small-plot farmers in the Okanagan and Shuswap are fortunate both because the area has a long growing season and the community really wants to support local food.

Read More: Council supports panhandling bylaw

Read More: Turtle Valley Bison Ranch owners speak on biosolids controversy

To help get their farm off the ground, Fester and Ward employed a concept called community supported agriculture. Under the community supported agriculture model, customers pre-pay for produce before the growing season and then collect it periodically. Fester and Ward offered their customers a weekly vegetable box for up to 10 weeks.

“It helps the farmer because it means you have some income at the beginning of the season before you have anything ready to sell,” Fester said.

Fester said it is great for creating relationships between people who are interested in buying local food and the farmers who grow it. Community supported agriculture is not a new idea but Fester said it has gained momentum with the push to re-localize food production.

Read More: Thunderstorms forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Read More: No link between Scotch Creek structure fires

Along with vegetables, Radical Bloom offered a weekly or biweekly flower bouquet subscription.

The bouquet subscription will be returning this year but the vegetable boxes will not as Fester and Ward focus on sales from the farm stand at the front of the property, and the new farmer’s market which will be running on Saturdays in the Ross Street Plaza beginning in late June.

Farm gate sales received a lot of interest on the well-travelled 30th Street NE. Fester said many people in the neighbourhood were keen to purchase local produce. Fester said she hopes to begin selling DIY buckets of flowers for weddings and other events, allowing event organizers to create their own arrangements for bouquets and centrepieces.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Caribou debate in Revelstoke makes international headlines

How much are we expected to sacrifice to save a dying species?

Dawn Low Interim CAO for Revelstoke for six months

She will be in the position until it is filled, it is not currently advertised

LETTER: Revelstoke Paddlesport Association opposed to gravel pit near Jordan River

City council has also expressed opposition to the gravel pit

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Firefighters have doused a Peachland house fire

Fire crews are still on scene investigating the cause of the BBQ which made its way to the home

False report of dead body leads police to sex dolls at Manning Park

Princeton RCMP breathed a sigh of relief, momentarily, when they discovered a… Continue reading

Ironman returns to Okanagan after seven-year absence

Subaru Ironman Canada is coming back to Penticton in 2020

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Special memorial service to say goodbye to murdered Kelowna teen

A memorial service and celebratio of life was held Tuesday for murdered teen Elijah-Iain Beauregard

Okanagan College campus flies Syilx flag

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag was raised at a ceremony at Vernon campus on July 16

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Most Read