Salix and Sedge Farm

Salix and Sedge

Salix and Sedge is a beautiful certified organic farm nestled in the Salmo Valley. Farmers Cali and Brendan named their farm after the prominent natural flora found on their land, and their appreciation of nature is evident in all that they do.

The couple had dreamed of owning their own farm. By investing their savings, and through no small amount of personal sacrifice (including foregoing an indoor bathroom in their humble home!), they have poured their resources and love into the rich farmland that they found. Happy pigs helped pre-till the soil, chickens rotate around the pasture, and abundant woods and wildlife surround the vegetable gardens. Salix and Sedge is a farm brimming with life and symbiotic biodiversity.

Cali and Brendan have become known for their respect for the natural environment and have been recognized as private land stewards by the BC Wildlife Federation for their contributions to wetland restoration and farmland improvement. Their generous involvement in their community, from serving on the board of the Kootenay Organic Growers Society and participation in the Kootenay and Boundary Food Producers Co-op to helping build the Cube climbing gym, is also much appreciated! We are very proud to partner with these lovely local farmers!

Read on to learn more about this great True Local Farm…

Who are the farmers at Salix and Sedge?

Cali Olleck and Brendan Parsons

Brendan and Cali

…with occasional help from their adorable son, Atlin!

Cali and Atlin seeding cabbages in the greenhouse!

What do you grow/make?

We grow small amounts of a wide variety of vegetables primarily for our CSA and the Salmo Farmer’s Market. We also have been experimenting with growing some larger volumes of certain crops for wholesale customers such as the Kootenay Co-op!

How would you describe your farm?

We are a small certified organic farm.  With the help of some Berkshire pigs we have been converting old pasture and sedge meadows into vegetable beds. The majority of our property is vibrant wetlands home to a vast assortment of flora and fauna including beavers, moose, pileated woodpeckers and snipes. Farming on the edge of this abundance means that our soil is incredibly rich and high in organic matter. We aim to be responsible stewards of our three-quarters of an acre that is under cultivation, and provide our community with fresh, tasty and nutrient dense food!

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How long have you been farming/in business?

This is our fourth growing season. We hope for a future of many more.

What motivated you to start?

As young adults we both felt the need to gain the basic skills of growing food for ourselves, and separately sought out farm education opportunities. We both wanted work that was meaningful, mentally and physically challenging, and that connected us to our community. Farming fit the bill!

Where did the name Salix and Sedge come from?

Our farm is named after the prominent flora found on our farm. Salix is the genus of willows, of which we have many varieties. Sedge is a three sided grass-like plant which thrives in wet conditions and can form ‘sedge meadows’. We have an abundance of sedge on our low lying property and it is the primary perennial that we have to work with (and against!) on our farm. Our name roots us in our surrounding ecosystem…plus we just like alliteration. Beaver ponds, wetland, and mixed forest makes up the majority of our property and is home to a diverse array of wildlife. We find inspiration and rejuvenation in our surroundings, and feel incredibly lucky to be able to work outside everyday.

What are some of your greatest joys?

Looking up while harvesting and watching a heron make its daily commute to the beaver ponds. Walking down our farm path and catching sight of a moose strolling through the pasture. Hearing the snipes winnowing at dusk. Crunching into a salad turnip or a snap pea out in the field.

Brendan and Cali have been recognized for their contribution toward wetland restoration on their farm.

What are some of your greatest challenges?

Keeping up with the weeding. Learning the myriad of skills necessary to run a successful farm. Trying to find a healthy balance between work and recreation.

What is your vision for your farm/company?

We hope to keep learning and enjoying what we are doing. We want to continue to build strong connections with our community and help support a vibrant agricultural sector in the Kootenays.

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Why is local food and/or local purchasing important to you?

This is a big question with many answers! But lets just say that food doesn’t get much fresher than when you buy it from your local farm, and purchasing local is important for building capacity and resilience in our local food system.

If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members/customers, what would it be?

Thanks for shopping at your local Co-op and thanks for supporting local farms!

Farm tour
Kootenay Co-op produce farm tour to Salix and Sedge, fall 2016

Learn more on Salix and Sedge’s website.

See additional Farmer & Supplier Profiles here.

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