Margaret Demianiuk’s farm on Princeton Summerland Road has a large family garden that includes cabbages. (Contributed)

Family farms provide security during pandemic food crisis

Margaret Demianiuk only needs to go to the grocery store about once every three weeks — and that’s usually just a milk run.

She farms six acres of land on Princeton Summerland Road, 24 kilometres from town.

Living with her father, and with the help of her boyfriend, she has been farming full-time for three years, having lived for 17 years on the property.

“I raise turkeys, chickens and sheep,” she said. “With my garden we only have to buy fresh veggies during the winter…I preserve all of it, either canning or freezing. What’s left over goes back to the animals.”

Demianiuk sells farm gate lamb, but much of what she produces is for the family’s own consumption.

“I grow cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, peas, beets, carrots, kale, spinach, other greens, tomatoes, peppers and several types of squash. I’m trying corn this year.”

Her family is well positioned as food supply chains come under stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Princeton mayor encourages residents to plant victory gardens

“I have thought of, and anticipated, that at some point we may have something like this. We aren’t ready for it, but we have an idea what we need to do,” she said. “I do feel more secure knowing I have food here. (We) just have to work at it a bit.”

Beyond the comfort of self-reliance, Demianiuk said there are numerous benefits to the family farm.

“I think the benefits are humane care for the meat animal. I know mine have no hormones (or) added medications done at the wrong time.

“My veggies taste so much better and have no sprays or anything on them.”

Demianiuk grew up on a 400-acre ranch with sheep, beef cattle and grain crops. She hopes the food crisis will help people realize the value of farmers. “This happened and everyone is buying the meat sections out at the stores. I hope they appreciate the hard work we do.”

COVID-19 pushes Canadian food industry to tipping point: Federation of Agriculture

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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