A hub for local food education
and initiatives, owned and operated by the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust,
for the benefit of the community. The Root will serve as a centre for
education on food sustainability, food safety, cooking with locally grown food
an processing preserving. It and will provide access to food-related vocational
programs that do not currently exist. It’s a catalyst for change,
designed to support our island’s transition from dependence on unsustainable
imported foods to greater reliance on food grown right here at home.
The Root is a new resource for Salt Spring Island farmers, food producers and the community. The Root is centrally-located food education, processing,
distribution and storage facility, operated on a not-for-profit basis as an incubator for increased local food
production. Our aim is to promote agriculture on Salt Spring by bringing the
community closer to local food production as the best way of eating for
everyone. . A hub for food initiatives and innovation, The Root will serve as a focal point for all things having
to do with local food. The community seed bank is up and running. By next year
we expect to have a high quality permaculture food garden on the property. .[Insert
drawing of the permaculture design.] The permaculture food landscape, designed
by Mike Nickels and his apprentices, will be a demonstration of fruit, nut, and
vegetable gardens for a changing climate.
Although Salt Spring Island
is a rural community with a long history of agriculture, only six per cent of
the food local residents eat is grown on the Island. As concern over the future
availability of cheap imported foods grows, the need to support increased local
food education, agriculture, and production is a priority.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
We believe the potential for increased production by Salt Spring Island
farmers and small-scale value-added processors is tremendous. A facility
designed to educate and to transform great ideas into creative and innovative,
high-quality food products will spur increased agricultural production and new opportunities for the whole community. Bring your ideas and we’ll help you work with
Environment and Climate Change
Local Community Development
Over time, our promotion of
agriculture and support of local food production will strengthen Salt Spring
Island’s resilience and adaptability,
with education and support for entrant farmers and food processors and new collaborations diversifying and
enhancing our local food system.While many individual producers will likely
be quite small in scale, their combined impact on local agriculture could be massive.
What's already been accomplished In 2012, the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society acquired a 0.6 hectare site at 189 Beddis Road for the Root. Since then, the FLT has been working with many Salt Spring Island individuals and organizations, including the SSI Agricultural Alliance, the SSI Community Services Society, and the Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary Society. . The Farmland Trust owns the land and the facilities that will be built there for the benefit of the community. The site came from a developer as a result of land use decisions by the Agricultural Land Commission and Islands Trust. The Islands Trust approved our development permit amendment in 2015 to match our vision for the project. We have worked with a designer and other professionals to create plans for an efficient, innovative and environmentally responsible 3,000 square foot facility, with a footprint of only 1000 square feet. This new building will house a food processing kitchen and quality-controlled storage for locally grown farm produce, increasing our local food capacity through 12 months of the year. The facility also contains a caretaker or manager residence.In collaboration with Mike Nickels and apprentices, we have completed a permaculture garden concept plan that covers 70% of the grounds. With this plan we are reclaiming what is currently a brownfield. The plan is a demonstration of what a community can do to bring land into food production on land that is less than ideal and combat climate action at the same time. This permaculture garden will be a hands-on educational project for the community. We have completed construction of a community seed bank on the site, in the renovated barn, and with the SSI Seed Sanctuary Society are bringing it into full use. The seed bank elevates seed saving on Salt Spring to new heights thanks to Dan Jason, Linda Gilkeson, and the other modern-day seed saving pioneers on the Seed Sanctuary board. You can be involved. Contact us from this site. With the use of green building materials, solar panels, water catchment, and electric vehicle charging stations the site adds value to the neighbourhood and to the rural priorities of our community. This food hub is a model for the region and for small to medium-sized communities throughout the province.
What still needs to be done
The need is clear. The
support in our community is strong. A plan has been developed. Commitments are
in place for land and cash or in-kind contributions valued at approximately 40
per cent of the total project cost. The building permit is in place. The
site is “shovel-ready”. A general contractor will be on site soon. If you would
like to make a donation, the Farmland Trust can provide a charitable tax
receipt. We thank major supporters: The Salt Spring Foundation—Shaw Family Fund;
the Victoria Foundation; the provincial Rural Dividend Program; Vancity Credit
Union EnviroFund. We welcome your help.