Sunflowers planted to aid local beekeepers at the original farm building on Newman farm. (Contributed)

Newman Farm volunteers help feed the poor

Farmland Trust calls for volunteer help

The Farmlands Trust Society (FLT) is calling for volunteers willing to assist them in preparing and maintaining the veggie garden plot at the historic Newman Farm land.

The farm, originally established in 1897, remained in the family for more than 106 years and operated as a small, mixed farm where prize winning jersey cattle were raised as well as a variety of agricultural plants.

The community took over control and operation of the farm in recent years and the 6.6 hectare property is now dedicated to us as a public park and historical site.

But it was the 2012 partnership with the Farmlands Trust that has led to the current call for volunteers.

It was determined that it would be appropriate for the FLT to re-establish the agricultural use of the farm and the land was dedicated to raising a variety of fruits and vegetables that would, in turn, be donated to Our Place Society.

“The Farmland Trust has been donating food for years and the thousands of pounds of food makes an incredible difference for us,” said executive director of Our Place, Don Evans.

“It gives us the ability to provide fresh, healthy food for people living in poverty. More than 70 per cent of the food we have is donated by groups like this.”

In order for this good work to continue, volunteers are needed to prepare the land, both for planting and in managing weeds, picking rocks, fertilizing the plants, and tidying up the garden plots and garden beds to support optimal growth.

The FLT has also planted sunflowers and wildflowers in advance of pollination activities at the farm and in surrounding areas, so those areas need to be maintained as well.

Volunteers are asked to contact the FLT at farmlandstrust@gmail.com to register as a volunteer and for further information.

Alternatively volunteers can simply arrive at the farm (preferably wearing sturdy shoes), and park near the Newman Farm access gate on Central Saanich Road, 1/2 km north of Mount Newton Cross Road. From there, they can look for our FLT Society lawn signs and balloons on the access gate.

Work parties are planned for Saturday July 14, 2018 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Saturday Aug. 11, 2018 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

For further information regarding Newman Farm or the FLT’s activities in general, visit www.farmlandstrust.org.

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