I first met James while coordinating the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program during its 2013 pilot year here in Cowichan. Like many, James was thrilled with the program that offered low income families and seniors the opportunity to shop for fresh local meat and produce, while getting to know the farmers and connecting with the community around healthy food. This is definitely his motivation for becoming a farmer.
With horticulture roots that date as far back as 250 years, it might not surprise you that James, with his wife Cammy and father Barry, started up Lockwood Farms in 2011. But having grown up in a farming family in England, wasn’t what initially drove James to follow in his family’s footsteps. It was his involvement in running a sustainability group while attending (then) Malaspina University that he became more educated and aware about nutrition and environmental issues. That prompted him to try out a small garden of his own which really sparked his passion.
Now on 5 & ½ acres off of Cobble Hill Road the Lockwood’s have expanded from growing on a ¼ of an acre to three fields, a barn that shelters 399 chickens leading out to an area where they roam freely with over 60 ducks and turkeys. They offer fresh produce grown using organic practices, garden starts, herbs, chicken and duck eggs and poultry meat to their market and CSA customers. Just when you think there is enough to do, they’ve also cleared and are in the process of tilling another portion of their land to prepare for a variety of perennial fruit trees and berries. All of which is part of the long term plan to provide healthy food for as many families as possible in the Cowichan Valley all year round.
Their desire to grow through the winter season became reality this year with the new 4000 square foot greenhouse that will shelter different greens. James is even considering offering free egg delivery during the two Saturdays the Duncan Farmers’ Market is closed following the holidays while the eggs are still fresh. Rain, snow or sun, you’ll find Lockwood Farms at the Duncan Farmers’ and Hudson Market in Victoria 12 months of the year, as well as the Goldstream Market during the summer.
What’s the secret to their success? James will tell you they wouldn’t be where they are today without the knowledge, expertise and advice of his Dad, but it’s also the tireless hard work of all three, with the inspiration of daughter Keighley and son Jayce that keep them growing. And growing they are. Keighley who turns 3 on Christmas day can already identify plants, loves to plant seeds, feed the chickens and help with the harvest! With 3 generations of farmers, the family legacy lives on at Lockwood Farms.
You can connect with Lockwood Farms at the Duncan Farmers’ Market every Saturday or on facebook here.
James & Cammy Lockwood