It hasn’t been easy. Transforming over 9 hectares of forgotten land into one of the Island’s most prolific and diversified certified organic farms took vision, determination and back-breaking hard work. But Lorne and Barbara Ebell remain as committed to sustainable farming practices in their latter years, as that day 25 years ago when they rolled up their sleeves. They cleared, ploughed, planted and irrigated their way to farming success, adding new crops year after year, from orchards and berries to vast fields of vegetables and their unique “signature mix of greens” served on plates around the Island.
Nanoose Edibles Organic Farm, off Northwest Bay Road, 1960A Stewart Road in Nanoose (90 minutes from Elkington Forest) is a tribute to their efforts, and to the continual stream of apprentices, Woofers and volunteers who arrive each year to work alongside and learn from their extraordinary mentors. As part of its ongoingcommitment to community education, the farm hosts many annual events, such as the Pollinator’s Picnic, Family Day on the Farm and self-guided tours.
For their lifetime achievement, the farm was honoured in 2012 to receive the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
Nanoose Edibles received designation as a certified organic farm in 1997 and in addition to selling products at their farm stand, U-pick and farmers markets, they are a proud supplier to grocers and prestigious restaurants from the mid to north Island.
Local food production on Vancouver Island has dropped dramatically, from 85% in the l950’s to a mere 3% currently. In the event of a serious emergency, there are estimated claims that there are only 3 days supply of food available to feed the Island population. Nanoose Edibles and the many other small organic farms in this region play an important role in local food security.
We can all help sustain and promote our local food economy by growing our own food and buying locally produced products as much as possible. At Elkington Forest, there are several opportunities to grow your own food, including small allotment gardens, 1/4 acre agricultural lots and larger agricultural acreages.
Photo: Nanoose Edibles Farm