Sunday April 11, 2021 | SOOKE, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Out Sooke way you can stock up on seeds, seedlings and seed potatoes through April at ALM Organic Farm. They’re on Otter Point Road, just beyond the Sooke Business Park.
Open Tuesdays 3 to 5 pm and Saturdays 10 am to noon, there’s a little COVID-safe outdoor retail store with seedlings and seeds outside.
There’s a ‘wait here’ sign, so that only one customer at a time is up at the counter.
Long-time ALM Organic Farm owner Mary Alice Johnson is now 77 years old and going strong. Several people help out at the large farm located at 3680 Otter Point Road. Lots of parking. And a cat to watch over things.
“People have really showed a new level of interest in growing their own food,” says Mary Alice. This after many years of organizing and leading within the Sooke region agricultural community which stretches from East Sooke out to Shirley.
The latest surge in food-growing interest has resulted from people having more stay-at-home time during the COVID pandemic. Back yard gardening is one of many pastimes that people took up during the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020 and for some it has really stuck.
Both experienced gardeners and new growers come ’round to ALM Farm for the products, the gardening advice and the friendly atmosphere.
ALM has offered an apprenticeship program since 1994. Up to three full-time apprentices join the farm each year from February through to the end of October. Applications are accepted from early fall to late winter annually for the following season.
ALM also sells flowers at their store and at farmers’ markets, as well as by custom order for special events.
There has also been a renewed interest in buying local during the pandemic, as a way to support small businesses (who are neighbours, friends and community supporters). Buying local also aligns with not traveling too far from home during the public health emergency that continues now into a second year.
Economic recovery entwined with supporting food security Article with quotes from BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. (by Island Social Trends – March 31, 2021)