Ever considered joining a farm co-op? If running your own business, working outside rain or shine, and growing organic food for your community are job descriptions that call to you, Merville Organics wants to meet you and help you get your farm business established in the Comox Valley. The local cooperative of five farms is facing such a high demand for produce that it is actively seeking more farmers to grow with them in the 2017 season.
“Our weekly veggie box subscription program sold out in record time this year and we already have a wait list of 40 families”, explains Kira Kotilla, owner of Kloverdalen Farm, and one of the founders of the farm co-op. “We are looking ahead to next year and most of us are maxed out in terms of area that we can plant in vegetables, so we need more growers!”
Merville Organics sells its produce through the Comox Valley and Campbell River farmers markets, through its 90-share weekly CSA box program, and through restaurant and catering orders. All of its growers must be in a Certified Organic program or willing to apply.
“We are looking for growers who are serious about expanding their own farming business and who are committed to Certified Organic practices”, states Arzeena Hamir of Amara Farm. “We need people who have had at least 4 years of farming experience. We are willing to help them find land and fill out the paperwork for certification. In return, we ask growers to volunteer time for the cooperative – we each take on at least one of the market outlets and do a lot of collective crop planning in the winter”.
The cooperative was formed to help small-scale growers work together to achieve more efficient marketing and distribution for their seasonal produce.
Compared to urban regions where demand is high for local produce, selling vegetables like kale, Swiss Chard, and salad greens can be a challenge in the Comox Valley. Merville Organics supplies a stable market for product and also provides all the storage and shipping through a shared washing and packing station, a walk-in cooler and a delivery truck.
“We need more kale growers!” laughs Kira. “You wouldn’t believe how strong the demand still is for kale – and it grows so well here”.
Interested farmers can contact Merville Organics at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling: 250 702 5657.