Salt Spring Island, July 12, 2018 – This week the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust begins construction of the new local food centre The Root at 189 Beddis Road, and officially kicks off The Root community fundraising campaign.

 “If you love eating produce and foods from Salt Spring Island and would like to see even more available all year long, and if you care about making the Island more food self-sufficient and would like to see more jobs in farm and food businesses, then you will want to contribute to the building fund at The Root,” says Patricia Reichert, SSI Farmland Trust President. “Currently 8% of the produce available for purchase on Salt Spring is locally grown, and the Farmland Trust would like to see this increase to 25% by 2025,” adds Reichert.

Thanks to the donations to date, the Farmland Trust is well on the way to its fundraising goal but still needs to raise $560,000. The Farmland Trust will issue tax receipts for donations over $50.

This money will fund this new building and the full site development. To date the Farmland Trust has renovated the existing barn and with support from the SSI Seed Sanctuary Society has begun operation of the Community Seed Bank. Hydro and water have also been installed at the site.

Beyond individual donations the project has been generously funded by the Salt Spring Island Foundation, Vancity, Victoria Foundation, the Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary Society, and the provincial government’s Rural Dividend Program. 

Why The Root:

The Root grew out of the Salt Spring Island Area Farm Plan, and the community vision for a more robust local food economy and culture. The AFP strongly recommends the development of key community facilities that support the expansion of agricultural activities such as the abattoir, and a facility like The Root.

What is The Root: 

Reichert explains, “The Root is the first holistic approach to local food infrastructure in the region, linking food production with storage, processing, distribution, and community-based food education. It is an amazing advancement in the focus on local food in our community. And it directly complements the increase in food production that we have initiated at the Burgoyne Valley Community Farm.” 

The new building will include a licensed teaching and processing kitchen and temperature-controlled storage for local produce. This certified Food Safe kitchen will be available to farmers, small scale food processors, individuals, and community organizations. Training programs such as chef certification, and food education programs for youth, families, and the community at large will be a focal point at The Root. 

A permaculture food landscape will demonstrate food production in a changing climate. The Farmland Trust is working with the Community Energy Group to incorporate the latest strategies for renewable energy and energy conservation into the design of the site; there will be solar energy, a water catchment system, and vehicle charging stations.  

Fundraiser: SSI Gathering Place Dinners 

Inspired by Graham Kerr’s The Gathering Place cook book and his dinner on Salt Spring last fall, this month the Farmland Trust is launching the SSI Gathering Place Dinners, a fundraiser for The Root which will run until the end of October. 

The idea is to take advantage of all the great local foods the Island has to offer in the summer and fall and host a lovely dinner party with friends, to help raise funds for a food facility for our community. Each guest would be asked to bring a donation for the Farmland Trust, and donations over $50 will get a tax receipt. 

The first 25 to register can pick up a free copy of The Gathering Place cookbook by Graham Kerr, registered hosts have a chance to win $100 gift certificate for a Salt Spring farm stand and they will get 10% off meat purchased at the new butcher, Eat, Drink, Ferment, for the dinner. For more info: ssifarmlandtrust.org

Residents can help by:

1. Make a donation right now at www.ssifarmlandtrust.org. Or donate by cheque: payable to SSI Farmland Trust and mail to P.O. Box 738, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2W3

2. Host a dinner party from now to the end of October. Discover and share local food. Raise money. More at: www.ssifarmlandtrust.org.

The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust

The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust is intent on increasing food sustainability on Salt Spring Island. It is a community non-profit organisation managed by a volunteer board.

Along with The Root initiative, the Farmland Trust owns and operates a 62-acre property at 2232 Fulford Ganges Road known as The Burgoyne Valley Community Farm. The “Farm” offers fine valley farmland for lease to farmers as well as three acres dedicated to The Shaw Family Community Gardens. These Gardens are comprised of 77 garden plots for Salt Springers to grow their own food, and another 19 plots for Community Services’ Harvest Food program.

Photo:  From left, Farmland Trust vice president Mike Lakin, Salt Spring Island Foundation board chair Kees Ruurs, Farmland Trust president Patricia Reichert, Salt Spring Island Foundation operations director Kisae Petersen and contractor Mark Saunders

For more information

Patricia Reichert, President, Farmland Trust                                                                                                                                     250-537-4282                                                                                                                                                       dogwoodlane@telus.net