Local farmers, growers and gatherers are the backbone of Salt Spring Island and the markets. The rural island community relies on market farmers for a regular supply of the best-tasting, freshest organic produce and fish products. Each Saturday and Tuesday reveals an impressive array of lovingly hand-picked produce from local fields and gardens at our markets..

Salt Spring Island has a long (see Salt Spring's Agricultural Alliance history of farming timeline here >>) and agriculture. The first Salt Spring Island Fall Fair was in 1896 and the explorer Edward Mallandaine said in his BC Directory in 1887, that Salt Spring Island "will always be remembered as absolutely the first agricultural settlement in the then Colony of Vancouver Island."

Farms, farmstands, market gardens and community-run allotments are found all over the island adding a pastoral beauty to the landscape. Many people move here to farm or market garden, and the island has many WWOOFERS (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in the summer from all over the world who come to Salt Spring Island to learn organic, permaculture, no-till and many other farming techniques and practices.

Kristine-Sheep-Ruckle-SmallAnd of course you can't say Salt Spring Island and farming without mentioning sheep - and our famous lamb. Apparently Queen Elizabeth II requests it whenever she visits BC.

We have three key agricultural organizations:

  1. The Farmer's Institute has served Salt Spring's farmers since 1895 encouraging the preservation and development of agriculture and sustainable farming practices on Salt Spring Island. It runs the Fall Fair in September of every year, supporting local farmers and hosting many local events. Get The Farmers Institute list of local farmers here >>
  2. Island Natural Growers (ING), a branch of Canadian Organic Growers - runs Seedy Saturday on the second Saturday in February every year. This is a highly social event where locals, farmers and visitors come to buy seeds, plants, attend workshops and reconnect with friends. They also started the Tuesday Farmer's Market.
  3. The Salt Spring Agricultural Alliance is responsible for fund-raising and bringing our own abattoir to the island after the government changed the regulations making it more difficult for small farmers. They are also working together to build a produce centre and community composting project.

These 3 groups make Salt Spring an incredibly strong farming community.

In addition, for visitors and locals alike, Foxglove Farm started by Michael Ableman hosts many workshops every year on farming, baking and foraging. Michael Ableman is a leader in the field of organic farming and growing and  and hosts the annual Foxglove Farm Festival.

Seeds

We also have many local seed companies dedicated to preserving heritage and organic seed (of which Salt Spring Seeds is the best known) and a new seed library.