Erin Bett of Fierce Love Farm has run her 1-acre farm for more than a year now. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Growing the South Island: Erin Bett, Fierce Love Farm

“As hard as it is, and as tired as you get, I don’t think there is really anywhere else most of us would rather be…”

This is the first story in a six-part series chronicling farming on the South Island ahead of the 150th anniversary of the Saanich Fair. We talked to farmers both old and young, and asked them what has changed over the years and what makes them who they are today.

Check back each morning and afternoon for new stories between Aug. 29-31.

——————

Erin Bett never grew up on a farm.

No one in her immediate family owned a farm and growing up in the 80’s and 90’s was a time she says taking to the fields was not something encouraged for young women. Despite all this, she finds herself the proud owner of Fierce Love Farm, a small-scale and certified organic farm. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“(It) made me feel really proud of myself to be able to (farm) and be able to show myself and other people that women can do this just as well and can actually excel at farming,” Bett explained. “There is really a strong joy that comes from producing something totally for yourself and by yourself and has really made me feel strong in a way I haven’t felt before.”

The former masters student in community planning says it’s part of her responsibility to represent young, female farmers getting into a typically male-dominated industry. At her one-acre farm on Haliburton Road, Bett pulls in anywhere from 30-40 different crops, 13-14 hours a day, seven days a week through digging, fertilizing, planting, watering and caring for the organic beets, tomatoes, flowers and garlic among others.

Bett gets to do what she is most passionate about, working with her hands, spending her days in the sun, eating organic food and preserving the land she says is far more important than many realize.

“If anything were to happen to cut us off from the Mainland, then we only have a couple days of food storage. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we knew we had a thriving local farm economy that is going to be stable?

“My understanding is that approximately 50 per cent of the food we consumed on Vancouver Island in the 1950’s was produced by Island farmers and now I understand that figure has dropped to somewhere around two-to-three per cent.”

Bett says the diversity in food and crops accessible to Vancouver Islanders has significantly decreased while prices for farmland have steadily increased, making it difficult for young farmers to get into the market. She feels a responsibility to advocate for farmers and the protection of farmland, and despite the challenges, has no plans to stop doing what’s become more than just a job, instead encompassing her entire life.

“As hard as it is, and as tired as you get, I don’t think there is really anywhere else most of us would rather be or we would have left and would be doing something else,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Langford Cares’ campaign to cover hotel expenses for frontline health care workers

Initiative gives back to health care staff living on the West Shore

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

Police watchdog clears West Shore RCMP in altercation that led to man needing 82 staples

The man pretended he had a weapon he would use against the police

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Greater Victoria donates 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags and more for those in need

Items placed in 72-hour quarantine before being distributed to help homeless self-isolate

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read