To us, here, in the Fraser Valley, the good life is a connection deeper than friends and family, deeper than feast and hard work, it’s a connection to the land, a connection to the fields and faspa that spurred this space a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago. A reconnection to the truth that was lost somewhere along the line of urban development and innovation, that this space is wild, this place is ours, rich and ready to provide. The truth is simple, so we try to live it.
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When Mike Lee showed us his farm in Greendale, a property picked up to provide his family with safe, organic produce, our collective excitement culminated into a zealous, frenetic, beer-impelled planting party. The joy of sinking our hands in fertile soil, together sowing our own fate, seed by seed, planting our intentions, was intoxicating. These simple goals so tangibly put forth they are practically bursting from our hands eager to bear fruit. And that’s when we confronted our first obstacle: none of us knew squat about farming.
Alex treks along a row of lush garden, stepping over squash and drooping tomatoes. She’s toting two bushels of beets slung over each shoulder; the beets are well-worn velvet, rich, dripping clumps of black soil with each step. The aisles of vegetation splash across the field like river waves. Brightly coloured fruit and flowers clamber over layers of leaf, rushing into a backdrop of cascade mountains in the Chilliwack valley, nutrient dense soil sunk in a nest of wild alpine.
Alex Clark is not your typical farmer. Swathed in agri-ink, tattoos of wildlife and horticulture, she is accustomed to working twice as hard to prove that age and gender don’t equate to skill or savvy. We were still recovering from our fitful escapade at the farm, trying to contrive some half-baked course of action, when Alex tromped into Field House. Now, as our official Farm Lead, she is planning future crops alongside chef Bonnie and brewmaster Parker to accommodate seasonality into every dish and brew, concocting inventive ways of utilizing every sprig and stem, every edible piece of the plant to eliminate waste and spur creativity. We want everything we provide to taste like it was freshly plucked from our garden, because it was.
The beets are tossed in the truck bed with everything else, crates of strawberries, lavender, bushels of cabbage, all brought to Field House as a part of our new project; to practice what we preach, provide our community with sustenance produced within the community, and to truly be purveyors of the good life.