David and Diana Pink’s interest in growing plants goes back over fifteen years gardening first with annuals, then perennials. They realized both the fun and the need to grow food and quickly expanded the size of their gardens at the Pink Family Farm here in the Valley.
Growing food on the family farm had its challenges. The Pink’s site received only 6 hours of direct sunlight. But by using permaculture techniques, including drip irrigation and nutrient-rich no-till lasagna beds, the industrious couple were able to push the envelope on what they could grow and produced veggies of all kinds. “We got used to the idea that the things we grew were just a bit smaller,” explains David.
David, who had installed his first drip-irrigation system, also known as trickle or micro irrigation, in these veggie gardens was sold on the results. Over time he refined his skills to the point at which he believed he could help others. In 2008, he started Warm Land Irrigation, helping gardeners and farmers alike with their watering needs by installing various networks of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters, all the while teaching his clients about water conservation.
Just as they were in the groove of growing food under limiting conditions, the family farm was sold and David and Diana needed to find a new place to live. Having marketed themselves as a working couple to their networks, they were prepared to move out of the Valley, but the folks at Damali Lavender Farm came calling. They weren’t strangers to Damali — Diana had been working there part-time the year before and David knew the families from school days — but they were new to the idea of farming for a living. Hence began their fresh start into small-scale agriculture.
Since December of 2012, David and Diana have been living at Damali as in-house farmers. In exchange for growing space, tools and infrastructure, they grow food for the families and volunteers at the farm. At the height of Damali’s season, this amounts to upwards of 25 people. David and Diana also supply 5 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers of their own.
This fall, they acquired another 10,000 square feet of growing space when the farm pulled up some of its’ lavender production. The plan is to plant half of the space to food and the other half to alfalfa and comfrey which are excellent compost builders. “We are growing slowly,” explains David.
Their goal for 2014 is to double their CSA customers as well as increase their winter production to offer enough food for 6 winter CSA’s. This January, they harvested their very first winter box including lettuce, arugula, collard greens, mustard greens and kale.
If there is any indication, this is one farming duo who have gotten off to a fresh start on the right foot!
For more information or to enquire about their year-round CSA, please contact David and Diana.
Farming Connections is a new initiative of the Cowichan Green Community in partnership with the Government of Canada which focuses on bringing farmers out of the isolating lifestyle that farming creates. Our goal is to engage ageing farmers by holding …See Full Project