Butler Urban Farm

The Butler Urban Farm was started in 2015 by our partners in the Jubilee Urban Movement and Partners (JUMP) program. The KFPC was asked to take it over in the spring of 2020 and it seemed like the right project at the right time. The COVID 19 pandemic had caused a lot of uncertainty about the reliability of our food system and increased interest in growing food and self-sufficiency. With a lot of enthusiasm from our board, and support from our network, we launched a new and exciting food security initiative!

Through our Gleaning Abundance Program, we already had the pieces in place to distribute produce to community organizations serving our food-insecure populations. Adding regular farm harvests to the gleaning schedule was pretty easy. 

Our Goals for the Farm!

Our goals for the farm are two-fold. We want to grow as much food as possible in the space but also provide opportunities for people in the community to engage with us in growing that food. Through our network, we were able to connect with some enthusiastic gardeners looking for space to grow crops. People in the neighbourhood saw what was going on in the spring and some of them have joined us as growers and volunteers.

Everything we grow is organic. We draw from principles of permaculture and regenerative agriculture to create rich, productive soil that can produce nutrient-rich vegetables. We are open to creative ideas for getting the most out of the land we have available.

How Can You Get Involved?

There are several ways to get involved at the farm as a grower, volunteer, or recipient of our fresh, organic produce.

Participate in Organized Harvests

Staff & volunteers pick whatever is ready and load it into our gleaning van for distribution to various food programs and organizations. Anyone is welcome to join, and volunteers get a share of whatever we harvest.

Grow & Maintain Plots 

We decided to keep a section at the back of the farm for individuals looking for space to grow and maintain their own plots. Several people took us up on this offer and have made a great contribution to our success. It has been a reciprocal relationship – they get growing space, soil amendments, and water. We have less space to worry about, regular farm visitors, and help with weeding and maintaining the common areas. Most of our growers not only look after their own plots but have also been a tremendous help in the common areas.

Harvest Fresh Produce

No one who shows up at the farm looking for free produce is turned away empty-handed. The farm manager has posted hours when anyone can come and get fresh vegetables.

There are no fences and nothing to prevent people from helping themselves, but there has been surprisingly little pilfering. We have put up signs asking people not to harvest vegetables that aren’t ready, and to note down on our chalkboard what they have taken.

The support from neighbours and random community members has been truly amazing. One neighbour is unable to do farm work, but she often stops by with baked goods or other treats to share that she has made from ingredients received from the farm. Another neighbour has been our irrigation advisor and helped set up some parts of the irrigation system. There are a few other volunteers who show up regularly and just lend a hand where needed.

Contact the Butler Urban Farm Manager, Chris Torres

Email: chris@kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com

Phone: 505-412-5190

KEVIN PANKEWICH

Honorary Farm Manager 

As the first ever KFPC Butler Urban Farm Manager, Kevin has been pivotal in the success of the farm. Due to his determination and hard work, the Butler Urban Farm has been able to make a sizeable contribution to help ease the food insecurity and unreliability brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic in the community. He is highly passionate about permaculture and social justice and throughout his time working with us, he pledged “If anyone comes to the Butler Urban Farm looking for food, they won’t go away empty-handed”. We intend to keep that pledge going forward.

CHRIS TORRES

Fall Farm Manager

Chris brings with him a holistic and diverse set of skills that is extremely valuable as the Fall Manager at the Butler Urban Farm. As a self-employed architect, he has an expansive experience in site planning, site design, and spends his free time researching organic and permaculture growing techniques. He is a huge asset in the placement and construction of our greenhouse and shed at the Butler Urban Farm and sees food as a place of solace, joy, and learning.

CAITLIN QUIST

Research Student

The Co-vid 19 pandemic brought Caitlin back home to Kamloops earlier than expected from study abroad and she started coming to the Butler Urban Farm regularly to volunteer and make use of her unexpected free time. She has since been awarded a Mitacs Research Training Award to help us learn how to get the most benefit for the most people from what we do at the farm. She calls the farm “labour of love” and enjoys connecting with the many people she meets there.

Our Supporters

The Butler Urban Farm would not exist without the support of the Butler family, who readily agreed when approached about the idea of using their vacant piece of land for a community farm. We are ever grateful for their ongoing cooperation and support for this valuable project!

Fraser Basin Council promotes sustainability across British Columbia and supports partnership initiatives focused on climate change, air quality, watersheds, and water resources. The Fraser Basin Council donated a Jora Composter to the Kamloops Food Policy Council to use at the farm.

The Kamloops Naturalist Club NextGen Program engages young people with an interest in creating a positive environmental change in Kamloops/Tk’emlúps. NextGen volunteers have spent many hours helping at the farm doing everything from clean-up chores early in the season to  helping plant native plants in designated areas to help with soil stablization. We are thrilled to see young people engaged in the garden!

United Way builds strong and healthy communities through poverty alleviation and helping children reach their full potential. The KFPC received funds through the Emergency Community Support Fund to help us keep the farm running this fall and get it started next spring.

Peavey Mart supports the communities where they do business in many ways. In 2013, they launched the Community Agricultural Grant to assist organizations that promote local food production and ideas to address food insecurity. In 2020, the KFPC was the lucky recipient of $30,000 to pay a fall farm manager and build some much-needed infrastructure at the farm including a washing station, storage shed, and greenhouse.

Garden Gate Training Centre is an organic farm with a unique horticulture program. Part of their mission is contributing to the health and wellness of our community and they helped the Butler Urban Farm by donating dozens of plant starts to the Kamloops Food Policy Council.

Snap Up Real Estate is a community-minded business that saw what we were doing and offered some financial support!

Ron & Rae Fawcett provided trucks, trailers, and horse manure for the Butler Urban Farm every year for the past five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the farm open for harvesting?

Mondays to Fridays 9 AM to 1PM

When do we have organized harvests?

Monday and Thursday morning

Butler Urban Farm News

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Job Posting - Fall Farm Manager

We are looking for a fall manager for our urban farm project! The Butler Urban Farm is an urban farm with a difference. All our produce goes to volunteers, community groups, and food insecure folks in search of fresh veggies. If you love growing…
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Exciting Times on the Farm!

The Butler Urban Farm is taking shape! It is slowly but surely being transformed into a beautiful and productive green space by Kevin, our farm manager and a crew of dedicated volunteers. We are so grateful for the donations of plants, time,…

Sponsors

We could not do the important work we do without the support of our generous sponsors:

We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia