Earthwise Society has received a donation of 58 acres that will allow it to extend the reach of its educational and community programming to the eastern Fraser Valley. The new land is located in Agassiz, near Harrison Hot Springs.
Over the next five years, Earthwise Society plans to build a demonstration ecological garden and organic teaching farm at the new site, modeled after their established facility in Boundary Bay. The Agassiz site is located on the route of the Circle Farm Tour and Earthwise will be on the Circle Farm Tour map in 2017. The Society hopes that they will be able to participate in other Agassiz area agri-tourism initiatives as an educational and community partner as well.
“It’s a beautiful site,” comments Executive Director Patricia Fleming, who designed the Earthwise Garden and Farm in Boundary Bay. One side of the property is bordered by a stream that has significance as salmon habitat, and there is a small grove of old growth cedars. The property has not been commercially farmed by its previous owners but contains established nut and fruit orchards, and several acres of open field that Earthwise has started to use for growing organic vegetables. The property also contains several outbuildings and a heritage farm house. “We hope to create a destination learning resource with overnight accommodation on the property,” Fleming adds.
Earthwise volunteer David Robinson sees great potential for the property. “Having this land at the other end of the Fraser Valley will really allow us to grow our programs and serve an expanded market,” he comments. “At last, we are able to plan for the future with the security of tenure that comes with land ownership.”
Earthwise received the donation from the John Westaway Society, a charitable organization that had used the property as a religious retreat in the mid 1900s. In 2014, John Westaway Society decided to stop operating, due to the increasing age of its members, and wanted to donate their land to an organization that would add value to the Agassiz community. John Westaway Society spokesperson Monique Olsen learned about the Earthwise Garden and Farm on the internet. “I was really impressed with the Society’s work and mandate,” Olsen commented, “so I decided to take a trip to Tsawwassen and check it out. When I toured the site with Patricia (Fleming) I was really inspired, and excited to think that we could start something similar for the Agassiz/Harrison community!”
Earthwise wants to acknowledge and thank Delta Law Firm for their donation of time and expertise to this project. If you are interested in learning more about the Earthwise Agassiz site or volunteering with Earthwise to cultivate a sustainable community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-946-9828.