Duck Creek Farm

Posted on Friday, 5 November 2021 under Stories

The name Duck Creek Farm will resonate with many Salt Spring Island locals. The late John Wilcox founded the farm in 1990 which has been lovingly stewarded by his partner, Sue Earle, and her two children, Eland and Ella. As a community staple for more than two decades, the Duck Creek team continues to find ways to contribute to the Island’s food landscape.

Their 13-acre farm is home to a market garden, which includes two greenhouses and a 175-foot hoop house, 80 fruit trees, and five acres of forested land. This diversity is reflected in their CSA boxes. Subscribers are treated to a mix of over 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables over the course of a program. The wider community can find their goods at the local Tuesday farmer’s market, restaurants, and caterers.

There is a lot of receptivity for the food and people are seeking us out,” says Ella Bronstein.

As a regenerative farm, Bronstein and her family use dense planting, natural weed-suppressants, and cover crops to grow food with as little petroleum as possible. They also create habitable spaces for pollinators and wildlife.

“We use organic and permaculture practices and operate a non-chemical farm, favouring no-till methods whenever possible,” adds Bronstein.

two farmers holding a basket of bell peppers

The disruption of global food systems during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for sustainable local food systems and forced many to adjust their consumption habits. Bronstein says her team felt the pandemic gave consumers a reason to participate in their community’s food landscape and support local farmers in a different way.

“We raised our CSA programs from a 20 person to a 90 person program and also have a Friday market at our farm that we just started this year. I feel really fortunate to live somewhere where people have the income and value the food so much,” says Bronstein.

Although buying local food can be a privilege for many, Bronstein believes that it is important to support people with the skills, land, and equipment to help sustain our food systems.

There is so much joy in connecting with people and the land, especially during COVID. I think that’s the medicine we need. It’s also important to continue to educate consumers about the true value of food. That broccoli has been sitting in the field for four months, hand-watered through the drought by us,” adds Bronstein.

There are a number of ways you can connect with your local farmer including farmer’s markets, farm stands, community gardens, and local events that promote food systems-related work in your region.

Learn more about community food networks and how they support local food systems in our latest Engaging Eaters Story Series.

farmer in a greenhouse