Wild Plum Farm, in the Vimy area of North Cowichan, is bringing back the concept of family farm; however in recent decades, it is the children that are leading the way. Increasingly children raised without a farming background are being drawn to farming in their early professional life. With the tradition of family farms waning in the past decades, most parents today are no longer offering an inheritance of farm skills and knowledge. However this new generation of non-farming parents are gifting their children with support in other ways. In the case of Wild Plum Farm, farmer Dave Wilson has the fortune of having parents who own agriculture acreage, and who are enthusiastic about supporting their son in turning their land into a productive farm.
Dave Wilson, and his parents John and Sylvia, started Wild Plum Farm on 7 acres in North Cowichan. After helping out at their neighbour’s farm, SOL Farm, they were inspired to transform their underutilized pasture land into food production. They started fencing the property in preparation for food production and discovered a wild plum tree. Once freed from the Hawthorn trees around it, the wild tree produced beautiful plums and became the namesake of their farm (and the source of their tasty wild plum freebies at the market).
Since putting up the fence, they have installed irrigation, become skilled at tractor operation, built-up the soils with cover crops, started an orchard, built a greenhouse and are now scaling-up organic vegetable production. Last year, Wild Plum Farm made their first appearance at the Duncan’s Farmers Market. While feeling hesitant to take this marketing leap as new farmers, they were greeted by wonderful positivity and support by market goers. Dave’s farmer confidence was boosted, and his dream to be a farmer carried a new sense of viability and reality. Like many other new farmers, the supportive consumers at Farmer’s Market play a huge role in sustaining farmers’ motivation and passion through challenging days in the field.
This year Wild Plum will start selling at the Duncan’s farmers market in July. I have heard that they have amazing spicy dill pickles from their own cucumbers, in addition to an array of vegetables, available at their market stand! As well as growing vegetables, Dave also offers tractor services to other farmers and gardeners in his local area, diversifying his farm income and skill-set.
Thank you to this new generation of passionate farmers, and their supportive parents, who are bringing food security back into the Cowichan Valley.
Dave, John and Sylvia