"Cam MacDonald Has a Farm..."
He might as well be right out a children’s nursery rhyme for everywhere Cam MacDonald of Ol’ MacDonald Farm goes, it seems, something green grows at every step.
It sounds fantastical but it’s actually not far from the truth.
Cam’s partner Paulina explains that before the expectant parents moved to Cowichan from Vancouver just over 6 years ago, Cam was already well into urban growing – every spring, their city apartment transformed into a veritable greenhouse full of trays of seedlings, spilling out onto the balcony, into bedrooms, and on every shelf and window sill. “Cam could grow food on a spaceship if that’s where he lived” laughs Paulina.
Cam started at a community garden in Vancouver, moving on to urban farming with gardens spread all over the city and a small CSA that he co-operated with another grower friend. He came to the Valley seeking more space to farm but now cultivates just a quarter acre of land, split between two different properties off Gibbins Road. It is all part of a very deliberate faming ethos. “My mantra,” explains Cam, “has become small, simple, and easy” and he credits the book The Lean Farm for reinforcing his beliefs.
Cam makes careful planting decisions based on labour, growing space and time, versus what piques his customers’ tastebuds. Cam farms using organic methods focusing on soil health through no-till practice and relies on a close network of family and friends who trade labour for veggies and a great hot lunch.
Ol’ MacDonald Farm’s delicious greens and veggies are available year-round through the Duncan Farmer’s Market, direct from the farm (250-597-0313) via phone order, and of course every Thursday with the Cow-op online marketplace, www.cow-op.ca.