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Bowen community food program combines relationships and local food sourcing

Community Supported Agriculture a popular movement for people seeking farm to table dining

Jody Peck is entering her second year at the helm of Home Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program. The movement emphasizes making connections, not only with your food, but with fellow growers too.

If you’ve been to the Farmers Market at all this year, you’ll likely have seen the big blue tubs Peck distributes at the Home Farm’s stand outside the BICS gym. Each week participants receive a new box of produce, along with tips on the best way to use the assorted foods. Everything inside is from the island, in this case specifically the property along Mt. Gardner Road.

“Everybody loves the idea… It’s the most local farm to table eating. It supports local food security. It’s really a fun thing,” says Peck. “And you meet at the Farmers Market every week so it really has a community feel. You can come to the Farmers Market and supplement your harvest boxes with other vendors.”

Peck says this community focus is one of the most important parts of the program. “It’s become a really popular model for small farms because it involves the community directly. The community supports the farm and the farm supports the community. You can have access to hyper local produce, and people who really are wanting to be truly invested in their food, they have a relationship with the farmer, they know they’re getting high quality vegetables and produce, and it also eliminates food miles,” she explains.

“It works really well anywhere, but it especially works well in small communities because you really create those relationships,” adds Peck. “The CSA members get to know each other, and we usually have a few things at the farm where they get to come see the farm, and be a part of their food system.”

Home Farm’s CSA season lines up with the Farmers Market, running over 20 weeks from May to October. Peck expects next year’s first box delivery to be May 27.

The variety of foods are all ones which can be grown on Bowen, so orange and lemon lovers will have to satisfy their appetite in alternative ways. But the different seasons provide for a wide range of selection. This includes arugula and radishes in the Spring, carrots, beats and peas in the Summer, and finishing off with larger items such as squash and potatoes in the Fall.

“We also try some really fun, adventurous crops. This season some of our more unique crops were celeriac, or we had fennel, and some interesting radishes,” says Peck, explaining her growing plan combines a mix of said adventurous crops to go along with the fan favourites.

“Every year we adjust the crop plan. We see what worked really well last year, we take feedback into consideration, and we always want to try some exciting new crops as well. But we always have the basics, we always have a lot of greens, we always have tomatoes… we always have sugar snap peas,” says Peck.

As part of the sustainability angle though, there’s a limit to how many people can participate. “We’re sustainably growing it. We’re not trying to make it huge, we’re just trying to make it so it can support the community with how big our garden is,” says Peck. She finds most people who sign up are “foodie couples”, or small families.

Right now half of the possible 40 spots are filled. Peck is hoping to snag some more people for the new year with an early bird sale on subscriptions currently on until Christmas. People can also decide if they want to choose add-ons to the program, such as eggs or sausages.

“It kind of works for everybody, as long as you love really fresh, good produce,” says Peck.

More information on the CSA program can be found at