It takes a village: This West Kootenay farm is on the right track

The owners of Earthy Organics in Fruitvale, B.C., are huge proponents of community-supported agriculture

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Earthy Organics farm with many plants growing on it

Earthy Organics was declared certified organic in 2005 and continues to be a source of healthy, fresh produce. — - Photo courtesy Earthy Organics

Jeanine Powell and John Abenante have built their business from the ground up—literally. Named after Powell’s stepfather, Bryan Earthy, Earthy Organics began as a well-nurtured chunk of land and emerged as a bustling West Kootenay farm in Fruitvale, B.C.

Abenante is the farm manager, always out working the land, maintaining equipment, and picking and delivering food. Powell works the farm during evenings and weekends, but during the day she is an environmental research technologist, working on vital solutions for the future of our planet.

The Earthy Organics farm has been certified organic since 2005, and now produces and sells a variety of merchandise, including cut flowers (with custom orders and deliveries), mixed vegetables, tree fruit, organic seeds, vegetable and flower starts, soil and soil amendments, and other garden supplies. You can even buy a custom-made soil mix you won’t find anywhere else.

Powell and Abenante also host classes throughout the year, helping other farmers and gardeners every step of the way. They offer individualized consultations if you require a little extra assistance with your growing efforts. Next year they intend to start a weekly basket subscription service as well.

- Photo courtesy Earthy Organics

Community-supported agriculture is the way of the future

The Earthy Organics team is all about the community-supported agriculture (CSA) business model.

In the CSA model, consumers and local producers are connected directly to increase profit and benefits for all involved. Consumers purchase CSA shares at the start of the season, and farmers use that money to invest in the necessary seeds, tools and other materials required to grow for the year. In return, consumers then receive regular deliveries of goods that were produced on the farms. It is much like a subscription service allowing people to skip the expensive chain stores and access locally grown, farm-fresh food. It also helps small farmers stay in business during challenging times.

- Photo courtesy Earthy Organics

“We had done CSA in the past but got away from that in the last few years,” said Powell. “Seeing the growth in the desire for local food has spurred us into starting again in 2022.  We currently have a wonderful working relationship with the following stores and restaurants and hope to get CSA rolling with them in the new year: Ferraro Foods, Kootenay Co-op, Ellison's Market, Save-On Foods, Clansey's, The Velvet Restaurant & Lounge at the Josie Hotel and the Trail Beer Refinery.”

Powell notes that the CSA model is as beneficial to the customers as it is to the farmers.

“The CSA model is a great way to connect to the community, give the customers the freshest food possible and begin your year with the much-needed income to get all your supplies for the upcoming year,” she explained. “I think it is one of the best ways for the community to support their local farmers. And it really is the most economical way to get your veggies!”

Earthy Organics has been lauded on social media by the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce for being a positive addition to the West Kootenay business community.

“We even won the Go Green Award twice over the last three years,” said Powell, “a real honour from our community. They always include us in meetings and discussions around local small business and food-related topics that are exciting and so beneficial for our communities.” 

 

- Photo courtesy Earthy Organics

Danielle Cameron

Danielle Cameron is a writer and web editor for several publications and has been practising as a Certified Herbal Practitioner since 2005. View all of Danielle Cameron’s articles

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