In May 2009, Sebastien and his wife Catherine started to look for land on which to begin building their dream organic herb farm. A 13-acre parcel located between Mays and Herd Rd. stood out from the pack with unusual hills and a quiet and serene valley location, ideal for building a home and raising their young family. The land, however, was raw and severely depleted of nutrients making it a challenge to cultivate.
Having launched their first business, Wedderspoon Organic Inc, in 2005 creating a line of products featuring Manuka honey imported from New Zealand, Sebastien and Catherine were no strangers to quality products with unique health benefits. The farm would be their base for their fast-growing Manuka honey business but more specifically, the land would be restored with a goal of growing herbs to fill the void in what they had identified as a niche market in locally grown herbal products.
In 2014, Wedderspoon was partially sold to investors and Folki was officially launched in October of 2015.Folki Herbs Inc. now flourishes with a wide variety of herbs and botanicals all grown under organic certification. In 2015, a unique line of herbal products including dry teas, tinctures and salves under the brand name ‘Folki’ was launched. While some of their ingredients are imported, the majority of the Folki products are created using their own farm-grown plants. Eventually, the goal is to see the business supplied entirely by local Cowichan Valley growers.
It is no wonder then that Sebastien joined the Valley’s new producers co-operative, Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace in January of 2016. He sits on the board of directors as Vice-President. Seeing the potential of working together with the Valley’s other producers to build capacity especially in organic herb production, as well as to streamline production based on local market demands Sebastien feels there is significant potential to grow agriculture in the Cowichan region in a sustainable way. “Working in conjunction with the Cow-op to grow based on demand,” explains Martin, “I hope to see the Valley’s producers avoid unnecessary multiples of fresh produce and create a diversity plan relying on cash crops that can sustain them throughout the year.”
“Folki, meaning Tribe or People in ancient Norse, is the true philosophy of our farm,” continues Sebastien. “Folki Herb Farm or “Herbs of the People” reflects our small responsibility to the people of our community, our town, our planet by following organic, non-GMO and sustainable practices, we believe in our small way we are giving back to the people of future generations to come.”
Folki will open it’s farm doors to the public this June, 2016 as part of Economusee, a designation which indicates an artisan or agri-foods business, whose products are the fruit of an authentic technique or know-how, is willing to showcase this traditional knowledge or craft with the public as part of a rich cultural and regional experience. On June 25th, from 10-4, Folki Herbs will be showcasing their farm and products in a grand opening event featuring demonstrations, entertainment and farm tours. For more details about this family-friendly event or to learn more about this enterprising organic farming family, visit www.folki.ca.