The event, free and open to everyone, is being held from 5-10 p.m. at 2305 Highway 3A in Glade — just off Highway 3A between Nelson and Castlegar.
Glade Organics is a small-scale Certified Organic farm that is owned and operated by Mira and Ross, first-generation farmers that generate income through direct sales, including farm gate and farmers markets, as well as wholesale channels. Glade Organics is situated in the beautiful West Kootenay Valley off Highway 3A, between Nelson and Castlegar, near the Glade General Store.
Greenhouse Tour: At 5 p.m., Mira will talk about the how to’s of overwintering greenhouse vegetables, and discuss the challenges and successes of their third year as new farmers. With our many hands present, we’ll mulch the greenhouse together. In a region like the Columbia Basin overwintering can help increase productivity for the next growing season. Growth of vegetative tissues and reproductive structures becomes minimal or ceases completely during winter months, and overwintering often involves restricted water supply and reduced light exposure.
Community Social: At 6 p.m., there will be an introduction circle so that we all have the opportunity to make new community connections. Please bring a tapas-style dish to share, and tools to eat with (plates, utensils, cups). There will be food and beverage tables set-up in the greenhouses so we can mix and mingle. There will also be a bonfire to enjoy. The night will include live acoustic music by Young Agrarians very own Columbia Basin Land Matcher Hailey Troock, and Brazilian guitarist Matheus Cavalher Rossi.
Meet Your Farmers: Ross Petrie, an Irishman, and Mira Grbich, a local from Pass Creek, are first-generation farmers wrapping up their third year on a beautiful parcel of fertile land surrounded by mountains. By farming, they hope to build community and bring a local and healthy option closer to people’s homes. They are passionate about growing produce that taste great, and is of the highest quality.
Mira and Ross supply the community with fresh and organic produce through many avenues. May through October, Glade Organics produce is available seasonally at the Nelson Wednesday downtown farmers’ market, and certain fairs and functions throughout the West Kootenays. As well, Glade Organics wholesales a large amount of fresh, organic produce at local stores including Evergreen Natural Foods and Fruit Stand, Ellison’s Market, Kootenay Co-op Grocery Store and Save-On-Foods. In the past they offered a CSA but chose to stop and are open for farm gate sales June through to the end of September.
Mira’s energy is envious and Ross’ sense of humour is contagious! Together they make a humble, hard working farming dream team. When asked why they wanted to start farming Mira replies. “This is all Ross’ idea. He wanted to do something meaningful. In essence, he wanted us to ‘be the change we want to see in the world,’ as Gandhi once said.”
Why Supporting Local Agriculture is Important: Despite the recent increase in demand for local, organic food the Canadian Census of Agriculture shows a decreasing trend in the number of farms in the Kootenays since 2011. These regional declines reflect the same provincial trends.
This highlights the urgent need to increase local food production, increase local economic development, and support agricultural producers across the Columbia Basin. The Kootenays is seeing more and more farms selling directly to the public through farm gate sales and farmers’ markets, with more than a dozen seasonal markets in communities across the Basin. There are also some local retail champions and restaurants purchasing locally produced foods.
And there’s clearly a demand: 75% of residents in the Basin-Boundary regions prefer to buy locally-produced food and more than two-thirds would pay extra for local, says a report from the Columbia Basin Trust. Considering that 95% of the food consumed in the Basin-Boundary region is imported from other regions, provinces or countries, there is expansion potential for local producers and processors.
About Young Agrarians:
Young Agrarians, a partnership with FarmFolk CityFolk Society, is a BC-based farmer network whose mission is to grow the next generation of farmers. Young Agrarians’ work involves advocacy for innovations like regional farmland trusts and practical, short-term strategies like “matchmaking” land seekers and landowners.