Sun’ts’a Farms is a local organic vegetable farm, run by Michael Geselbracht found on over one third of an acre in upper Lantzville. Sun’ts’a Farms produces thirty five different crops all fertilized with horse manure, seaweed, or compost teas. Geselbracht says compost teas are a great method to use weeds to your own benefit.
Geselbracht runs the farm mostly by himself with the occasional help of family and friends. He says that it is not an easy task as he does not live on the same property as the farm. This causes problems for him because there is no automated watering system and animals can get into his crop without him knowing.
Geselbracht hopes to have his farm grow but says that finding land to farm on is not easy. He says that there is land that would be good for farming but it is bought and lived on by people who have no intention of farming.
With Nanaimo being founded on an industrial economy rather than agricultural, there is not much land developed for large scale farming. Geselbracht says that this is not an issue because small city farms, if there are enough, could still do the job.
The problem with small scale farming, according to Geselbracht, is that you don’t make much money. He said that to increase his profit he has to either “get better or charge more.”
Being in his second year of production Geselbracht said that he still has room to grow and much to learn about farming. He said that having such a diversity of crops is good insurance. If one crop fails he still has another thirty four crops to fall back on, something large scale farms focusing on one crop do not have the benefit of. Geselbracht believes that more farms like his will become common. He said that as the quality of food available gets worse, people will start growing their own.
He said that society will benefit better from ecological farming, not factory farms. He said that the lifestyle that comes with organic farming keeps you grounded and there is an environmental ethic that keeps you from getting to big.
Geselbracht said that, as a child, working with the fruit trees his father planted was his first taste of farming. He always enjoyed being outside and when he was a teenager he became quite angry about the state of the environment. He said that at some point he thought that by growing food he could help do his part to save the environment. He hopes that by providing people with local food they will feel healthier and be more open to getting involved.
Geselbracht said that he was inspired by a program in Italy called “Eat Your Landscape.” He said that local farming keeps personal livelihood connected to the community and provides a more authentic culture. Geselbracht hopes to expand his farm in a way where he could work with other farmers and share land, resources, ideas and man power.
Sun’ts’a Farms sells all their produce solely at the Lantzville Farmers Market which is on Sundays from 1:30-4:30 pm at St. Phillips Church 7113 Lantzville Rd.