The West Shore has a rich agricultural history, one that continues today.
Sitting in a cafe in the bustling Goldstream Village, it’s hard to imagine the area as part of an expansive farm, including sheep and a dairy. In addition to serving as a fishing area for local First Nations, much of what is now Colwood and Langford was once part of a 600-acre farm owned by a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The farm was presided over by Captain Edward Langford, who called the farmhouse ‘Colwood’ after his home in England.
Today, the region enjoys an abundance of agricultural offerings, from medium-sized operations to small family-run farms. An essential part of our history, our community’s “green scene” is also a vital component of our local culture, a valuable asset for both our economy and quality of life, and a vital component in our sustainable future here on the West Shore.
Interested in getting your daily dose of “agriculture?” Here are a few ways to connect with our local offerings:
• Savour the local flavour at a farm stand. Although our West Shore Farmers’ Markets don’t open until May, many farm stands are open now and serving up local fare. Check out the farm gates at Barefoot Farm (Sooke) and Sea Bluff Farm (Metchosin) for early spring bounty. For an even bigger bite of the best the West Shore has to offer, check out our local food boxes and CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) shares. Some local options include The Local Food Box (Metchosin) and Saanich Organics.
• Get a taste of the farm experience. Curious about the farming process? Some farms offer tours to the public. Visit www.westshoreharvest.ca and check the listing of local farms to find those that offer tours. If you prefer a more casual, hands-off experience, check out Sea Bluff Trail, a gentle one-kilometre long looped hiking trail between two farms that’s a well-kept local secret.
• Grow your own. Growing a little food can be extremely satisfying and it isn’t limited to those with a yard. Microgreens can be easily grown on a sunny windowsill in a covered seed starter tray, adding nutrients and flavour to salads within a few short weeks. Don’t have a sunny windowsill? Growing sprouts is an even simpler process that requires little equipment or upkeep.
For more information on what’s fresh and local in our community, visit the West Shore Arts Council’s “West Shore Harvest” website (www.westshoreharvest.ca), a great collection of resources and information about our local food and agriculture scene.
Johanna Henderson is a board member with the West Shore Arts Council and principal with Shelter Creative Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).