The farm started with the Sisters of St. Ann who agreed to use the farm for additional programming with Mental Health BC to create job opportunities through horticultural therapy. That grew into many different facets including small engine mechanics, wood work, art, textiles and kitchen programming, just to name a few.
The agricultural side of the farm is now functioning as a social enterprise which also houses and trains interns; although it isn’t uncommon for volunteers and staff to pitch in during harvesting, planting or cutting back blackberries.
With one greenhouse for plant sales and two others for planting into the ground, the farm sells plants and starts, fresh produce, herbs, berries and eggs through an 18 week, market-style CSA, at the Duncan Farmers’ Market, Chemainus Market, and onsite in their General Store.
Their market-style CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program will grow from 10 to 50 members in 2015, where members can select what they would like to receive weekly on Saturdays for pick up on Wednesdays. Everyone can also purchase their goods on Wednesdays at the Chemainus Market and from Bill on Saturdays at the Duncan Farmers’ Market – he hasn’t missed a summer market day since the very first one!
The General Store is open Friday & Saturday from 10am to 5pm during the winter season and starting April 17th (maybe sooner!) will be open Tuesday to Sunday at the same times. Not only will you find their fresh farmed goods there, but also a variety of other items including wood work by their Furniture Shop, herbs from the nursery, wool products from their very own sheep made through the Textiles Program, lavender products and jams made from farm produce by the seniors in the St. Ann’s Garden Club, frozen farm produce & soups from the Kitchen Program as well as farm fashions from their onsite Thrift Store.
With the many programs and services offered at Providence Farm and goals to increase their winter growing production by 50% over the next year, as well as integrating 5 cattle to rotate through pasture, there is no slowing down for Farm Manager Abe and the farm team. Visit the farm and become inspired by the beautiful landscape, curious animals and the friendly and welcoming staff, volunteers and program participants.
Whether you purchase a bag of kale at the Market, or buy a membership into their CSA, it’s clear you’re not just supporting a farm, but an entire community.