Mary Coll and Steve Unger had an urban farm in Vancouver complete with backyard chickens, a small orchard and a garden yielding a 100 pounds of tomatoes.
With both sets of grandparents being farmers, the couple was destined to try and make a living from the land.
Coll and Unger and their kids came to Sooke and settled right in on Jane Lunson’s 130-acre spread along Helgeson Road.
“We needed more space and that’s where we wanted to be, we really love this town,” says Coll. “The kids absolutely love it.’
Lunson was 102 years old when she passed away in Sooke and she was an inspiration to a new generation of small farmers in the area. She had a philosophy which is still true:
“If you don’t plant it, it won’t grow.
If you don’t harvest it, you can’t sell it.
If you don’t make up an invoice, you probably won’t get paid.”
Enter the new generation of farmers, Mary and Steve and their two kids, Finn aged five and Chloe eight.
They are amazed at the size of the farm they now have and have a lot of projects in mind. They have secured farm status and are busy laying out plans for the future. To date they have laying hens, a garden patch and have broken ground for a big vegetable garden. They want to raise pigs and fruit and build a greenhouse. All of this, of course, will take some time and they are going about it one step at a time.
“We hope to find other people who want to get involved,” said Coll. “The farm is so large.”
They want to plug into the Sooke farming scene and get involved in all aspects of the food security movement.
The couple will have an opportunity to talk with other young and established farmers at the Annual Farming and Gardening Gala being held on March 7 after the showing of the video, To Make a Farm, being presented by the Wednesday Awareness Film Night group. The evening will feature a whole lot of information about farming, farms and farmers in the Sooke area.
“It’s a great equalizer — this town,” said Coll. “Everyone can be who they want to be, you can be you.”
Edward Milne Community School is located at 6218 Sooke Road.