Farmlands Trust Lavender Project
The Farmlands Trust Society’s mission is to enhance farming capacity in the Greater Victoria area by protecting local farmland, protecting eco-sensitive and culturally special areas, producing food for those in need, providing relevant educational opportunities, promoting the economic viability of farmland, and providing community access and public awareness programs.
Since 2012, they have been gradually returning the 100+ year old historic Newman Farm in Saanichton to active agricultural uses. Every year at the Newman Farm, the Farmlands Trust Society team plants a portion of the land into a bee-friendly meadow; including sunflowers, wildflowers, buckwheat, and clover. This beautiful display of flowers is an attractant for birds and bees from the local agricultural lands to support pollination activity.
The Farmlands Trust applied for a grant from the Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation to specifically support the bees. The 2019 SPCF grant was utilized to install a new lavender garden which expanded the FLT Society’s bee friendly farming practices; supporting their agricultural stewardship endeavours at Newman Farm. Due to the grant, they were able to establish a series of lavender beds to expand their bee-friendly program. Says Natasha Caverley, FLT Society Board Secretary:
“We’re grateful for the SPCF grant as it aids the FLT Society team in our continuation of bee-friendly farming practices and pollinator advocacy on the Saanich Peninsula and surrounding areas.”
The lavender beds are both beautiful and practical. As the agricultural stewards at Newman Farm, the FLT Society offers forage for pollination – providing good nutrition for native bees on approximately 30% of the five acre+ licensed area. Additionally, they plant continuous blooms of different flowering plants throughout the growing season, especially in early spring; offer clean water for bees; provide a variety of habitats for nesting and mating, through features such as hedgerows, natural brush, and buffer strips; and practicing Integrated Pest Management – no utilizing of chemicals on the Farm. The FLT Society was awarded the 2018 Pollinator Advocate for Canada designation.