With a new farm tan and soil on my hands the next season has begun. This summer I’m in Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver, where I’ve landed a job at Common Ground Community Farm a small 1 acre property that grows fruits and vegetables and is home to, two cats, one dog, eight chickens, two goats and thousands of honey bees.
I have to thank the Vancouver Urban Farming Society and the listserv* they host for finding my first paid gardening gig. It may have only been a few words sandwiched in between advice sought for boron application and offerings of tomato seedlings but it was enough to get me in touch with Dave Carlson and set up a meeting after we arrived in New Westminster where we are housesitting. A quick tour of the farm and I suddenly find myself three weeks into the season! With salad deliveries set up for next week and more CSA planning to do before the boxes start going out to householders in June. The garden is also just around the corner from Earth Apple Farm and Urban Digs; two small scale organic farms it’s heartening to ride past on my daily commute. I saw aerial crop dusters last week and it was a tad depressing but to be expected given we are surrounded by industrial estates and conventional vegetable and cranberry production.
With Dave off-site for much of the day I currently set my own work schedule and it’s given me time to reflect upon The time I spent last year in Quebec at Chelsea Gardens. While I wasn’t exactly paid, the room, board and small stipend combined with a full season of farming experience was invaluable and has given me confidence when it comes to planning, planting, seeding, harvesting etc. There is still plenty to learn and of course many, many weeds to pull but after a grey and chilly winter in Revelstoke it’s great to be working outdoors again.
* List server, a small program that automatically sends messages to multiple e-mail addresses on a mailing list.