Organic farm expands homesite

Spallumcheen farmer Peter Glimm will be able to tend to his expanding family on the same property he leases in the township

Spallumcheen farmer Peter Glimm will be able to tend to his expanding family on the same property he leases in the township.

Glimm and property owner Robert Bigsby persuaded township council to vote unanimously against a staff recommendation to not allow a manufactured home to be placed on the Sleepy Hollow Road property to accommodate additional farm help.

In this case, Glimm, his wife, Mikaela Cannon, and infant daughter would move into the manufactured home. The current residence on the property is occupied by Glimm’s farm helper.

The couple, who are expecting their second child in the fall, are temporarily living in an RV on the property.

“When we started the farm five years ago, we didn’t have any children,” said Glimm. “It’s not financially feasible or sufficient to raise a family while staying in an RV, and, with our second child coming soon, we need to get this done very quickly.”

Glimm grows a variety of no-spray organic vegetables and houses pasture-raised, organic-fed animals like broiler chickens, pigs, sheep and laying hens. He also keeps bees on the property.

Staff recommended denying the request  for a second home because the current level of farming activity on the property, it said, does not warrant the need for farm help.

In a report from planner Greg Routley, the suggested standard for the size of a field vegetable crop operation that would warrant a second residence for farm help is 16 hectares. Glimm’s operation is only 0.81 hectares, though both Glimm and Bigsby advised the organic vegetable garden could be expanded to cover two hectares.

Bigsby told council his family and the Glimms have a close connection, that Bigsby’s family has owned the property for more than 75 years, and will continue to do so through Bigsby’s son, who will get ownership of the farm after his father’s death.

Bigsby said his son will continue leasing the property to the Glimms.

“I want to stress there is an opportunity here to really develop something over time,” said Bigsby of Grimm’s farming efforts. “There is enough very good soil there to make a good living and contribute to the concept of growing food for people.”

Glrimm has a website – themarketcart.org – where he accepts orders for his products, then delivers them throughout Spallumcheen, Armstrong and the North Okanagan.

“There’s lot of room to grow and we would like to expand,” said Glimm. “We buy our feed locally and deliver all of our produce locally.

“This is the direction for future sustainable agriculture. Organic farming is our passion.”

Council voted unanimously to an alternate recommendation provided by staff that calls for the township’s building inspector to issue a building permit for the secondary dwelling.

A covenant will also be placed on the farm title to let potential new owners of the property know about the secondary dwelling for farm help.