Singing Bird Farm came into existence as of early 2013. Previously, Leonie had leased land at Cusheon Lake Farm with her two friends Daria and Elaine; together, they formed the cooperative Terra Viva Farm. When the lease was coming to an end, we found and purchased our current property on 1570 North End Rd and began to run it as a family farm. At the time, our market garden was just a field; only the orchard and the veggie garden surrounding the house was established. Now, we have a one-acre market garden; a small herd of Oberhasli (dairy) goats; and thirty chickens including two roosters.
Who We Are - 2017
Leonie is the full time farmer of the family. After she completed her Masters degree in 2008, she decided she wanted to learn some practical skills that would help support her family, friends, and community in the event of a global economic crisis. She co-founded Terra Viva Farm Cooperative and soon found herself deeply immersed in growing food – and lots of it. When it became too cumbersome to travel back and forth between the leased farmland and the family home, she convinced the rest of the family it was time to purchase their own piece of land and start all over again.
Doug has his own marketing company that helps support the farm, but he also spends many hours a week helping out with various farm chores, particularly in building infrastructure – fencing, greenhouses, goat houses, hay barn, irrigation, drainage... you name it! He also is our driver for the CSA box deliveries and keeps track of the monetary side of the CSA.
Taryn has helped out around the farm from the very beginning. She was the one who convinced the rest of the family that we should keep chickens even though their presence conflicted with the Channel Ridge bylaws (where we lived at the time). We now have around 60 chickens, 5 goats, and 2 ducks, and caring for the animals is one Taryn's many tasks. In the summer, she helps out with the harvests and she is our stellar vegetable sampler at the Tuesday market!
Wieteke is our part time farm worker who joined our farm in April of 2015, and she has become a dear friend. She has a lot of knowledge of and experience with growing vegetables and helps out with whatever work needs to be done... from bed preparation to transplanting to harvesting and everything in between! She is truly invaluable, and our farm would be lost without her.
Nikki started working as our intern as of April 1st of this year and will be here until mid-September; by then, she has to return to university to complete her final year of Agricultural Studies. Nikki is a delight to have on our farm; her lovely personality and her passion for sustainable farming make her an ideal fit for our Singing Bird Farm community... We are so blessed that she chose to intern with us! We love and appreciate her beyond words.
Photo credit: Elehna de Sousa
Phil has been living with us for a couple of months per year as long as we’ve had the farm, but this year, he is spending the farm season with us. Although disastrous with plants (according to himself), he is super skilled with carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc. so many of the construction and irrigation maintenance jobs fall on him. His sense of humour and great story telling skills are very much appreciated by the rest of our family, and we are always curious to hear his opinions which he shares quite generously.
Moek is the oldest member of our farm family. She lives in the Netherlands for most of the year, but loves coming out to stay with us for several months of the year. Now that she is in her mid-eighties, she has found she has to slow down somewhat, but she is still actively helping out with feeding the chickens and the goats, going on goat walks, and if she is here during the summer, cleaning vegetables for the market, and taking care of the flower beds.
Like Phil, Ghislain surfaces a few times per year and helps out at the farm to burn off some his boundless energy. He particularly enjoys pruning, but he’ll run with anything, including construction. At the end of a long day, he jumps on his bike and cycles around the island for some exercise. We are always extremely happy when he shows up on our door step!
Chara is a Kuvasz, an old Hungarian livestock guardian breed. Born in July of 2013, her livestock guardian instincts kicked in quickly. She has saved the lives of many of our chickens over the years, chasing off birds of prey and keeping mink and raccoons at bay. She is very protective of the goats, too, and always accompanies them on their daily walks.
Oakley is an English Shepherd, a breed known for their multiple skills as herders, livestock guardians, and hunters of small prey – they are the ideal dog for a small farm. Oakley was born in January of 2014 and is only now coming into her role as a farm dog. Recently, she has started checking the skies for aerial predators, and in late April, she will begin her herding training.
Who We Are - 2016
Regan is our friend, neighbour, and godsend.... This is her fourth year helping out at the farm. She weighs, bunches, and packages all the vegetables for the CSA every week. She is meticulous and conscientious, and fun to boot... We are so fortunate to have her back for another season!
Brittany joined our farm as an intern at the end of May until the end of July. She has a keen interest in learning how to farm and we hope she will continue on the farming path. She was fun to have on the farm, fit in well with our family, and we are all still missing her spectacular meals!
Anne joined our farm near the end of July of 2016 and stayed until early November. We wanted to keep her forever because she is both fun, creative, and an incredibly hard worker and eager learner, while we learned a lot from her as well... She had finished a horticulture program in Quebec so already came with lots of experience. In September, Anne was unexpectedly joined by her boyfriend Julien, who is a chef by trade... Julien was a great help with numerous chores that had been piling up, and of course we enjoyed many fabulous meals... Anne and Julien are currently traveling the world gaining new farm experiences everywhere they go!
Who We Are - 2015
Ardeo was our very first Wwoofer who stayed with us from late June to late October. They were a great asset to our farm; a keen worker, conscientious, and quick to learn. Ardeo now lives in Victoria where they recently started university. They continue to work on farms during the summer (in addition to their part time library job), and we are so pleased about that - the world needs more young people like Ardeo!
Where To Find Our Produce
We sell most of our produce at the Tuesday Market and through our CSA box program. We also operate our farm stand daily from about April to November, and we sell to local stores and restaurants.