Port Alberni Shelter Farm grows with the seasons

Staff and students at Shelter Farm work in a greenhouse during the last growing season. The farm has wrapped up for winter and is setting its sights on expansion of programs for spring. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)Staff and students at Shelter Farm work in a greenhouse during the last growing season. The farm has wrapped up for winter and is setting its sights on expansion of programs for spring. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
Staff and students at Shelter Farm work in a greenhouse during the last growing season. The farm has wrapped up for winter and is setting its sights on expansion of programs for spring. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)Staff and students at Shelter Farm work in a greenhouse during the last growing season. The farm has wrapped up for winter and is setting its sights on expansion of programs for spring. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
Crops from the Shelter Farm market gardeners will vary in the produce box program, coming up as soon as the growing season is in full swing. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)Crops from the Shelter Farm market gardeners will vary in the produce box program, coming up as soon as the growing season is in full swing. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
Documenting the progress of the market gardeners at Shelter Farm is important so they can see progress being made in the greenhouse. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)Documenting the progress of the market gardeners at Shelter Farm is important so they can see progress being made in the greenhouse. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
Some of the farmers that keep Shelter Farm running gather for a group photo at the end of a successful season. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)Some of the farmers that keep Shelter Farm running gather for a group photo at the end of a successful season. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
A typical produce box from Shelter Farm’s community supported agriculture program may look like this, depending on what fruit and vegetables are in season. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)A typical produce box from Shelter Farm’s community supported agriculture program may look like this, depending on what fruit and vegetables are in season. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)

The snow from last month’s sudden storm may still be melting in the shadows of the Alberni Valley, but the Shelter Farm is already working on the spring growing season.

Farm staff and participants in the market gardener and youth community programs grow more than 70 different types of vegetables and herbs as well as berries and plums at the farm. These products provide food to the community in a variety of ways, says Guy Langlois, who oversees the farm on Franklin River Road. The farm is part of the Port Alberni Shelter Society group of services.

Food from the farm is distributed through the overdose prevention site on Third Avenue and Bute Street. Shelter Farm last year ran a community-supported agriculture produce box program that was well received. Island Health and Alberni Valley Transition Towns provided funding and administration, Langlois said. This year the farm will supply its own CSA boxes with the hope they will be able to include products from other farmers such as eggs, meat or grains.

(Shelter Farm is exclusively produce based at the moment, although long-term plans are to eventually incorporate chickens and goats, Langlois said.)

“We want to create a collective and collect food from other farmer to put in the box and distribute it. It takes cooperation. I think most people will be happy with it…It all works to grow a stronger farming community in the Alberni Valley.”

Members of the public will be able to buy full or half shares of the produce box, which will be distributed once a week for 21 weeks between June and October.

Shelter Farm is growing physically too. This year they are adding a food processing and production facility in a building on lower Third Avenue, which will include a small-scale commercial kitchen too. They have teamed with North Island College to offer a three-month Food Production and Processing program with Red Seal chef Vivian Cruise that starts March 8 and only had one spot left to fill in late February. The 15-week program will train applicants to work in the processing facility, including a six-week unpaid work placement.

“We want to be able to improve our service to the community and reduce the amount of waste from our farm and community food program,” Langlois said.

“This is going to be a community resource,” Langlois said of the processing facility. “Any farmers or market gardeners or our interns can make use of the facility.”

The Shelter Farm has been in discussions with the Port Alberni Port Authority over The Dock food hub on the waterfront, which features a commercial kitchen. The hope is to train people i how to use the commercial equipment. “The intention is to get or people trained so they can get employment there.”

The Shelter Farm will be selling plants and seedling kits at Spirit Square Farmers Market April 10, 17, 24 and May 1. To order a kit or to sign up for a produce box, call Langlois at 250-720-5177 or e-mail him at guy_pashelter@shaw.ca.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AgricultureAlberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictFarmingPort Alberni

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo poet Kamal Parmar will read some of her poems at Rendezvous with a Poet on Sunday, April 25. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Nanaimo poet to read at virtual Port Alberni event

Rendezvous with a Poet is hosted by Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

A tribute to the late Winston Joseph was set up outside the Joseph household on Saturday, April 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
EDITORIAL: Late community leader deserves recognition

Petitioners want AW Neill School to carry Winston Joseph’s name instead

A piece of artwork by Port Alberni artist Jim Sears. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Deadline approaching for artists at Rollin Art Centre

Current exhibit features Port Alberni artist Jim Sears

Ryan Toso, pictured, and Cassidy McCaughan have opened Mobius Books on Argyle Street in Port Alberni. The city hasn’t had a dedicated bookstore in a couple of years. (TERESA BIRD/ Alberni Valley News)
BIZ BEAT: New bookstore opens in Uptown Port Alberni

See what else is new in the Port Alberni business community

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Most Read