*may or may not be chicken’s actual name
Merville Organics is a way for four local certified organic and transitional to organic farmers to join forces and market and distribute their products cooperatively. For the first two years of Merville Organics it was two farms with a 20 person CSA. In 2018 we served over 150 summer CSA shares and 75 Fall shares. Based on the Saanich Organics model, our goal is to increase production and distribution of fresh, organic and transitional produce within the Comox Valley, with our eye on food security for all!
This summer, you can sign up for our CSA box delivery program – where you will get the best of four farms for 15 weeks in summer or 9 weeks in fall, delivered to a convenient location in Courtenay or Campbell River! Or you can visit us at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market year round, where we offer greens, roots, fruits and plant starts!
What does “Transitional to Organic” mean?
When a beginning farm applies for organic certification and starts following the organic program, there is almost always a transition period to account for past uses of the farm land, and to help the farmer get their operations up to standard. Transitional farms must comply with the Canadian Organic Standards and any additional standards outlined by their certifying body (CB). Once the transition period has ended and there are no issues of non-compliance, then the farm can be Certified Organic
All four of our farmers have applied for organic status with Islands Organic Producers’ Association. Green Arrow & Kloverdalen Farms are fully certified, while Whitaker and Tendergreens Farms are in transition.
Meet the Farmers
Robin Sturley, Green Arrow Farm
Kira Kotilla, Kloverdalen Farm
Kira grew up on a hobby farm in Merville. Since 2008 or so, she has been working towards starting a small farm. She spent a few years on the East coast completing a Plant Science Tech Diploma at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and working as a research assistant with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC). After that she returned to the island for an 8 month SOIL apprenticeship with Saanich Organics and has been happy to be back in Comox Valley ever since!
In the summer of 2014 Kira and Ingemar Dalen purchased a small acreage just north of Courtenay. After a couple of years of putting up greenhouses and figuring out farm systems, they are now fully certified organic and producing an abundance of fresh organic veggies!
This year they are taking a sabbatical and heading to Nepal to explore with baby Eilif.
Mariette Sluyter & Brian Padlewski, Whitaker Farm
Mariette & Brian relocated to the Valley with the goal of growing high quality food for themselves, their neighbours and their community.
Their background in systems analysis (Brian) and community development (Mariette) naturally led them to a life of farming.
Joining Merville Organics was a dream come true and they are grateful to be a part of a team that values community, food security, and soil health as key components of their business goals.
Jay Williamson, Tendergreens Farm
Jay is the newest member of the co-op and comes to Merville Organics via the South Island. Jay started farming in 2013, beginning as the salad greens manager at SunTrio Farm for 3 years and then spending 2 years at Northbrook Farm, part of Saanich Organics.
Growing up in the suburbs of Ottawa, Jay always dreamed of living on the west coast and came to Victoria in 2009 to earn a degree in Gender Studies from UVic before discovering a passion for organic farming. When Merville Organics put out the call for new members, Jay leapt at the opportunity, found an acre of land to lease in “Deep Merville,” and made the move to the valley in fall 2017 to start up a farm.