A Pemberton Food Story

Food was one of the reasons my partner and I decided to move to Pemberton in 2011 after only being here a handful of times. We had been growing food in our community garden in Whistler. We also made our weekly bike ride to the farm market on Sunday for a couple of years and I swear getting to know the people who grew our food made it taste better.

We didn’t realize it at the time but when we moved to Pemberton we were dinks (dual income no kids). Armed with an abundance of time and money we were eager to tear up our lawn in the Glen and get started on our first labour of love. A couple of loads of soil later and our veggie garden was born, complete with a PVC greenhouse and vertical herb planters. Within a year I left a cushy (albeit ill-suited) office job to work on a local organic farm. There my love of Pemberton and slow food grew to new levels. I knew intellectually farming would be hard work but nothing could have prepared my body physically. As hard as it was at times it was incredibly therapeutic to be working in the elements day after day. I got stronger physically and mentally as the months passed. I spent many days weeding and planting and harvesting in good conversation with new friends. I gained a deep appreciation for the dedication and perseverance it takes to be an organic farmer and hence a steward of the earth. I learned from my experience growing food that it’s not always perfect, straight and neat. It’s scrappy and messy and mucky and absolutely gorgeous all at once, just like life.

In 2014 our dinkdom concluded and our hearts grew with the birth of our daughter. The abundance of time ended as did my days on the farm, in the mountains or spending my days making food in the kitchen . They were replaced with early am nursing sessions, diaper changes, a whole lot of raw love and a good sprinkle of depression. There were tough times and bliss-full times but one of the things I looked forward to was our weekly CSA harvest box from Ice Cap Organics. I would wake up on pick up days as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. I knew how hard people had worked to get those boxes filled with a rainbow of nourishing veggies, eggs, chicken even flowers and it felt good to be sharing it at the table each day as a new family.

Here we are three years later and life is opening back up again. We have a new plot at the community garden to experiment, learn and teach with. Now those days making food in the kitchen are shared with our daughter who knows where her food comes from and loves to help cook it. I have the pleasure of cooking food at a local organic eatery called Stay Wild. Just like working on the farm my life is uplifted every time I’m there. Relationships with the women I work with and the people we serve are just as enriching and nourishing as the food. As I write this and think about food and Pemberton I am reminded of Lisa Richardson’s article where she spoke of, “the opportunity food offers us, to grow – not just out there in the soil, but as humans”, and I am thoroughly grateful we decided to call this fertile place home.