Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust

By Olga Lansdorp

The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust was established shortly after a 2008 Area Farm Plan identified the need to protect and preserve farmland and encourage potential new farmers on the 180 square kilometer Gulf Island. The original mandate of the SSI Farmland Trust was to receive parcels of land as gifts, donations, and bequeathments, to revitalize the land, and to make it available to local farmers and family vegetable growers at affordable rates.

The SSI Farmland Trust’s main property is the Burgoyne Valley Community Farm, a 62 acre parcel which supports four professional farm acreages, one community services farm, and 90 small family garden plots. Farms follow organic principles, and some of the produce is directed to the Food Bank and other community services programs. By renting the land at affordable rates, the SSI Farmland Trust helps newer generations of strong young farmers access land without insurmountable purchase prices and enter the market.

After a long drumroll, The Root is almost ready! The Island’s only local food hub will create a local wholesale, processing, and distribution centre, with the intended purpose of making locally grown and produced food more competitive with off-island imports and gives farmers and food entrepreneurs the capacity to add value to their products. The Root is set to benefit food producers, family gardeners, chefs, the general public, as well as boost the local economy and food security. The vision is to help facilitate more locally grown and produced food and encourage more local consumption of those products.

Features include a commercial kitchen facility, indoor temperature controlled storage, a seed bank, a barn for hosting workshops, tool and equipment rentals, composting, on-site gardens, a food forest, and more.

SSI Farmland Trust is keen to extend its sphere of influence from managing and acquiring farmland, to offering food, farming, and sustainability education programming at The Root, thereby fulfilling its mission of “Bringing Land, People, and Knowledge Together to Grow.”

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