John Hofer and Brenda Paterson
“By practising biological farming, we’re honoring the wisdom of nature, providing amazing produce while also creating a truly sustainable farming business model.”
On a small farm at KLO Road and the Mission Creek Greenway in Kelowna, John Hofer and Brenda Paterson of Wise Earth Farm are demonstrating the benefits of organic and biologically intensive cropping practices. By emphasizing intelligent farm design, appropriate technologies and harnessing the power of soil biology, the farm can produce over 40,000 lbs. of vegetables per year on just 1.5 acres. These are sold through the farm’s Veggie Box Program, at the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market and to Okanagan restaurants and wineries.
Both John and Brenda are passionate about the connection of food to everyday life and share their knowledge and experience with other farmers in the community to build strength and resilience in food production. “It’s exciting to be part of the trend of the local food movement knowing farmers are becoming recognized for their value to society,” says Brenda. “At the same time we’re providing a service to our community that is both healthy and sustainable.”
“This property feeds my soul.”
The impact of flooding, encroaching industry, regulatory changes and the realities of what makes money in farming today have required her to be bold and innovative.The landscape on the 26 acres Brenda Dureault bought from her father 18 years ago is dramatically different from the pasture that supported livestock for decades. She planted several species of hardwood trees including black walnut, English walnuts, trazels, chestnuts and yellow horn valued for both their timber and for food. With three years still to go before the trees are fully producing, she also farms Christmas trees, mulberry and paw paw fruit trees, herbs, berries, vegetables and flowers. The willow plantation provides cuttings and whips for uses ranging from creek restoration to weaving, crafts, twig furniture and live willow structures. Brenda also designs and sells her own jewelry and textile art and leads workshops on these crafts.
“Ultimately I want to be able to produce the highest quality of nuts available using sustainable practices that are good for environment, the farmer and the community,” she says.