From the Field
by Julia Smith, Urban Digs Farm in Burnaby
Urban Digs Farm had a rough winter this year.
In spite of putting new drainage ditches in last fall, the farm was just getting wetter and wetter with the rain we had. Our farm is in South Burnaby in an extremely fertile but soggy peat bog below sea level. The vast majority of our pigs diet is made up of “rescued food” like spent brewery grains, whey and fresh fruits and vegetables… all of which is heavy and bulky. We got to the point where we couldn’t get food out to the pigs with the tractor any more. Then we couldn’t even push a wheelbarrow. Then we were feeding 30 pigs with buckets and we knew we either needed to build an ark or head for higher ground.
Thankfully, we were able to relocate the pigs to our “sister farm,” Rehoboth Farm in Yarrow. We bought an old shipping container and converted it to a barn with doors opening out to pasture and moved everyone over to their new home. We have been working closely with Rehoboth for a couple of years now and merging our operations has gone really well. We love working together and our pigs are doing really well in the new setup.
In the midst of all this chaos, we’ve had 3 litters of piglets born over the past 2 weeks with one more on the way this week. We’re finally starting to dry out at the farm in Burnaby so we’ll be bringing some of the piglets back to Burnaby once they are weaned so folks can come by and meet them this spring. We won’t be keeping animals at the Burnaby farm over the winter and more but we’ll be farming there spring, summer and fall and the pigs, chickens, ducks and look forward to lots of visitors this season.