The Farmlands Trust Society, which runs Central Saanich’s Newman Farm, has been recognized as the Pollinator Advocate for Canada.
The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, based in San Francisco, awarded the Farmlands Trust for its endeavours in a ceremony on Thursday at Central Saanich Municipal Hall.
Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, said in her remarks that she knew the importance of bees at a young age. Her father, a beekeeper, kept an observation hive in the family’s bathroom.
“Anything that raises awareness around the health of bees is incredibly important and so we’re here to congratulate them and continue their great work,” she said.
Carol Pickup, chair of the Farmlands Trust, grew up on the Peninsula and knows many farmers in the area, especially young farmers who need access to the land. She was thrilled to be recognized for the work, and said other groups like Madrona Farm has also planted bee friendly plants.
“We wouldn’t exist without bees and their pollination,” said Pickup.
The farm was donated to the District of Central Saanich by John and Henry Newman, brothers who used no insecticides and pesticides, who “loved the land and were wonderful stewards of the land,” said Pickup. Natasha Caverley, board secretary of the FLT Society, said the farm’s current iteration began with three rows of squash. In 2015, they were granted a 10-year pro bono lease.
Caverley said two of the nine acres at Newman are sunflowers, wildflowers and buckwheat, which is their contribution to a bee-friendly environment. The farm has maintained its hedgerows, and Bob Newman said more farmers are keeping them. “It may look messy,” he said, “but it’s beautiful.”
Pickup encouraged people to plant bee-friendly and deer-unfriendly plants, which include:
- Rose of Sharon