The Lethbridge Herald ran a story on April 13 about a new initiative taking place in our community. Josh Hellawell of Synergy Farms is breaking ground for the SPIN farm this month, with the goal of selling locally produced organic herbs and vegetables via CSAs (community shared agriculture) and to restaurants, grocers and visitors to farmers’ markets. SPIN is an acronym that stands for Small Plot INtensive, and its core concept is to minimize start up costs for urban farmers, improve food security and encourage local food production.
A SPIN farmer borrows small plots of land, typically ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet, from the yards of citizens in Lethbridge. In exchange for the use of their land, the owner gets a free share of the produce grown. The owner also benefits from the land being managed sustainably and improved over time due to the investment of locally produced compost and soil amendments. If and when the agreement ends, the owner is given back the plot to do with as they please. The intensive method of farming, combined with the very close proximity of the farms to the consumers, ensures that the operation is low carbon and sustainable in the long term. SPIN farming has run successfully in other cities for years, and perhaps most famously (among SPIN farmers) in Kelowna, BC by Curtis Stone.
Currently, Synergy Farms is working on 19 small plots around Lethbridge and in surrounding communities. There’s been a growing interest in getting involved with this project at different levels, as witnessed by the incoming offers for volunteer help, people buying up shares in the CSA and more citizens wanting to loan out their yards.
For more information on this initiative, check out Synergy Farms online.
The Lethbridge Herald article can be found here.