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

EDITORIAL: The best or the least worst

Negative messaging abandons the quest for the best and instead asks voters to choose the least worst

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Art and music at Summerland Ornamental Gardens

Second event of the summer will be held Sunday, Aug. 25

New Penticton/Kelowna transit route ready to roll out

Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna will provide a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton and Summerland

South Okanagan powwow strikes a chord on the human level for federal minister

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan was the special guest at powwow

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

One pet unaccounted for after early morning Kelowna house fire

A Lakeshore Road home caught fire before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning

Coming home: Okanagan softball star returns after career-changing injury

Shayla Tyerman joins UBC Okanagan in their inaugural season in the WCSA

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

True Leaf closes in on licence for Okanagan cannabis hub

True Leaf Cannabis Inc. says it expects to receive its cultivation licence by fourth quarter of 2019

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Most Read