Celebrating Food and Knowledge Feasts

Dragonfly Farm Tomato feast, anyone?

Dragonfly Farm Tomato feast, anyone?

Well, the expression ‘hazy, lazy, dog days of summer’ certainly does not apply to the Cowichan Agriculture Training program (except maybe the hazy part)! We have been busy like the “Bee People” that Ted Leischner introduced us to on August 18th.

In keeping with this newsletter’s theme of ‘Feast’, I can attest to several kinds of feasts that have been enjoyed by our hardworking interns. I am so impressed with their foraging instincts, and how they value and appreciate the wild roadside berries, ditch plums, and apples that we often encounter in our adventures visiting local farms. It gives me hope in our future to see young folks taking pleasure in foods that are still wild and free.

Our feasts should be laden with foods that are either wild and free, or local, ecologically, and economically sustainable. This is the core passion driving the CAT program, the connecting theme that keeps our energies up and our eyes on the metaphorical cornucopia of food the Cowichan Valley is growing and has the capacity to grow. This month we have visited a variety of farms, at times focusing on how and what is being produced, at times assessing best practices and strategies for agro-ecological stewardship and restoration with world-class instructors such as Dave Polster and Ted Leischner. Many thanks to Tim Mock at Windhorse farm for an excellent introduction to Managed Intensive Grazing (MIG), and to Lyn Bull at Silverside farm and winery for demonstrating a fabulous (and tasty) example of value-added agriculture and direct marketing.

Other folks to acknowledge for their contribution to our program recently include Cory and Kirsten at Happy Goat Farm and John and Katy at Alderlea farm for welcoming us yet again for our field work with David Polster. Jesse Frank, Cere’s head gardener extraordinaire, shared a great hands-on composting workshop. I think it’s clear that we’ve been feasting with our minds as well as our mouths, so many thanks everyone! You have enriched this program greatly. We’re looking forward to spending some time with Dr. Jenny Horn over the next few weeks, so I’m sure there will be lots to share about that next time.

Until then, enjoy your feasts; both literal and metaphorical, wild-foraged and local farm-nurtured!

-Stephanie Cottell

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