Deep in the heart of our plot of land, was a hay meadow. Sun drenched, thick with grasses as tall as me and hemmed in by wild rose and alder. For three decades or more it’s been abandoned. In recent decades the odd pot grower harvested a cash crop and decades before the meadow probably housed animals as evidenced by a collapsed stock fence and rotted gate. Perhaps a century before that pioneers felled the huge Douglas fir trees and cleared the land with oxen.
Our land is in BC’s celebrated but threatened Agricultural Land Reserve. A foot of rich black soil with the potential to provide a good deal of food security and to sever many of our slavish ties to the ecology destroying industrial food system. It’s perhaps our most prized resource.
The first day we owned our land in August 2013, our retired organic farmer neighbour John brought over his tractor and brush cut it. A scant 10 months later and we have 200 metres of deer fencing up. With Karen drawing deep from the well of her Russian peasant genes and under the daily tutelage of our neighbour, she’s transformed it into an immense organic food garden.
Nine rows wide, each 45 metres long, four in cultivation this year and room to expand. Squash, pumpkins, corn, basil, dill, Swiss chard, beans, potatoes, radishes, zucchini, camomile, lettuce, kale, rapini, borage, strawberries, amaranth and cabbage. Next year, all that plus raspberries, blueberries, garlic, onions, apple trees and whatever else our taste buds desire and Karen’s hands can nurture.
Tonight we feast deeply from the bounty of the land. It’s yummy out there!