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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. Happy pigs helped pre-till the soil, chickens rotate around the pasture, and abundant woods, wetlands and wildlife surround the vegetable gardens. Salix and Sedge is a farm brimming with life and symbiotic biodiversity.

Cali and Brendan 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 to helping build the Cube climbing gym, is also much appreciated! We are very proud to partner with these lovely local farmers!

Who are the farmers at Salix and Sedge?
Cali Olleck and Brendan Parsons

…with occasional help from their adorable son, Atlin!

What do you grow/make?
We grow a wide range of mixed vegetables for our community shared agriculture (CSA) program and for local retailers such as the Kootenay Co-op.

How would you describe your farm?
We are a small certified organic farm.  We are inspired by flavour and beauty, and love being able to share delicious produce with our customers and community!

With the help of some Berkshire pigs we converted 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 this land, and provide our community with fresh, tasty and nutrient dense food!

How long have you been farming/in business?
This is our fifth 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.

We love working outside and being in tune with our environment and the weather. And the way farming connects us to our community is very meaningful to us.

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.

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!

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