Featured Farm: Green Dirt Farm

Green Dirt Farm Lillooet

Green Dirt Farm is an inspired name for a farm that knows exactly what they are doing. Immian Wolfe alongside his family have developed a business that sells greens locally, to surrounding communities and clients. In this interview Immian shared their journey to their present state.

Previously working in management, Immian ruminated over spending 5 days a week for years not feeling the sun, stating “you start to miss it!”. Working in their greenhouse in Aldergrove he came to the realization that blue collar work was rewarding in a way he had not previously understood. Working with his plants his mind was free to wonder to his wife and children and to his friends impressing upon him that “after four hours of work, my brain got to do whatever I want while my body got the work done.” With physical work a portion of your brain is committed to the task and the rest free to wonder, and this was important for him because it allowed him to be a more present father.

At Green Dirt Farm they began with a mixed vegetable box program, which they started in the green houses and small hoop houses with 300 square feet. The math was done and everything was growing when grasshoppers came and ate a large portion. The land was, previously, unkept pasture with thousands of grasshopper eggs hidden amongst the grass. Immian charmingly expressed “it was fascinating to watch.” The final result was that the surviving produce was labeled and sold but the uptake of the vegetable box program wasn’t high. The project no longer made economical sense mostly due to Lillooet having too small of a population to support a business. 

The next step was to do a wholesale program where they would supply a large part of the local produce needs but, the challenge was to supply the towns needs with the crops available. For example they had a crop of lettuce ready to distribute but the local store had stocked and even overstocked the item before the local stock was available. As always Immian is quick to share the knowledge and thought process behind their business decisions. Explaining that a produce manager places a much higher standard on loose produce due to customers placing more value on the single item they select from the shelf. The produce manager will receive the complaints for ugly produce and the customer will move on to other stores. If the produce is in a box with the farmers name on it most customers would turn to the name on the box to place their thoughts about the product, relieving the store of responsibility and placing it on the farmer. This pushed Immian to package and label their products. The very products that we see in our stores labeled Green Dirt Farm with delicious garlic, baby greens and salads. 

Over the years there is always little and big difficulties that present themselves unexpectedly but what keeps everyone motivated  on the farm are the employees who come to work everyday and do their best and the customers who write us and are so appreciative of the local organic salad that Green Dirt Farm makes available.

In his final thoughts Immian shared that in Canada we import 90-95 % of our produce especially our salad and we need to be eating Canadian grown food, where possible and as often as possible. If we could change anything in the farming community  it would be to make Lillooet a processor of food. More people locally would then see the very real opportunity there is in growing food.

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