Lohbrunner Community Farm: A Place of Growth

Posted on Thursday, 8 July 2021 under Stories

Lohbrunner Community Farm Cooperative is home to a small group of stewards who work together to maintain their 13-acre farm in Langdale, BC. This community has grown over the years to include two certified organic market-sale farms, a group of homesteaders, and a passionate cohort of volunteers.

“Being certified organic is important to us because Lohbrunner and its members are stewards of this land, not owners. We take that job seriously and hope to maintain or enhance the benefits to the local ecosystem through our management practices,” says member Ariella Falkowksi.

Ariella Falkowski runs Sweet Acres Farm which offers a diverse mix of vegetables for sale, grown on two acres of Lohbrunner. Falkowski says cooperative members collaborate on a number of projects including an exciting new u-pick pumpkin patch coming this fall.

“We also have blackcurrant and blueberry bushes that are maintained by volunteers. The money from selling that produce goes back into the co-op as a revenue stream,” adds Falkowski.

farmer field worker

We are long-time supporters of the Lohbrunner Community Farm. In 2016, we responded to an opportunity to help them continue to farm. We now hold the land title and have a long-term lease with the cooperative. We are proud to support a farm and group of growers that continues to provide food and host various on-site educational and community opportunities.

Over the years, the cooperative has embarked on numerous ventures including projects that protect and grow the land’s biological diversity. In 2020, the team collaborated with the Habitat Acquisition Trust and Saanich Native Plants on a new 170-foot native plant hedgerow now home to various plant species adapted to their seasonal floodplain environment that support native pollinators and beneficial insects.

“We have already noticed interesting pollinators and insects in these plants during the summer season including species we don’t find anywhere else on the farm,” says Falkowski.

Lohbrunner members utilize a number of farming practices that help protect their land and the wider environment. These include crop rotation and cover cropping which help manage pests and disease and maintain healthy soil.

“We are also all passionate about healthy eating, soil, and communities. We see sustainable farming practices as a way towards these goals,” adds Falkowski.

farmer field

As land stewards and champions of sustainable farming, Lohrunner members actively work on solutions for farmers and gardeners in the face of climate change. Member Scott Harris’ latest project looks to increase the availability of locally bred and adapted potato seeds.

“Once they are harvested, more seed may also be saved to further develop local potato varieties well suited to this climate, and to strengthen and broaden the genetic pool,” adds Falkowski.

Falkowski says the cooperative also looks to expand their farm-based education camps through Growing Young Farmers as a way to help educate their communities’ young people about the importance of locally grown food.

“We are surrounded by a lot of urban development so I think there are a lot of kids in Langford that may not have much or any experience with farming,” says Falkowski.

seedlings in their containers

Falkowski also highlights the importance of becoming less dependent on international food supply chains. Her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program saw a significant increase in subscriptions in 2020, largely due to the global pandemic.

“As the last year has highlighted, [supporting local] is more secure and offers a lot of benefits. Doing what you can to support local producers makes it easier to become less dependent on outside systems,” adds Falkowski.

If you want to learn more about the exciting projects and hear the latest updates from Lohbrunner Community Farm, visit our Stories page for a monthly farm update.

We are excited to partner with Lohbrunner for our 2021 Vancouver Island Feast of Fields ‘At Home’ event. Learn more about this year’s celebration and how you can register on our Feast of Fields page. Secure your spot at Feast 2021 by following the link here.