In the summer of 2007 a few friends from Creston and Nelson made the commitment to eat only food in which all ingredients were grown or produced within 100 Miles. It didn't take long for them to miss one of the staples of their diet: grain.

Being especially concerned about the environmental consequences of our global food system the group's awareness of how reliant we are on food from afar was heightened. The Creston Valley is potentially one of the most productive foodsheds in B.C. Although once home to award-winning grain production, it had been years since grain had been grown in the Creston Valley to feed the people of the region. Could it be so once again? In December of that year a number of Creston Valley farmers and community activists from the Kootenay region got together to explore the possibility of growing grain for local consumption. From this meeting was formed the first grain Community Supported Agriculture project in Canada.



Every part of this project has evolved organically. From the time of the first meeting until now, a path was chosen that represents common values and aspirations. All decisions, from what to grow, how to grow it, what model of exchange to use, how much to charge, in which form to provide the product, have been made through many thoughtful group discussions in which an openness to and appreciation of each others' ideas has been at the fore. The secret to the success of the project to date has been a unifying trust that a"new model” that each participant deeply desires can be created by simply inventing it step by step.

The Kootenay Grain CSA committee is comprised of a diverse group of individuals from Creston and Nelson who share a common concern for a sustainable future. They recognize that a local and equitable food system is one of the primary solutions to global crises such as climate change, peak oil, and food security. They realize that in order for a new food system to evolve it must be based on the principles of fairness, security, and mutual respect for the farmer, eater, and natural environment alike. For this reason, they have chosen a modified CSA model to reestablish grain growing for local consumption in our region.

Why is the Kootenay Grain CSA so important?

  •  Local Agricultural Economy: In our global market, it is impossible for local, organic farmers to compete with the imported produce from other countries with lower wages and a lower standard of living. The conventional solution to this challenge has been to resort to farming methods that endorse single-crop farming and the dependence on chemicals. Through environmentally conscious action, CSA members help fortify the local agricultural economy.
  • Environment: CSA members become increasingly aware of the intrinsic connection between local farming practices and our water, our air, and the earth that wholly sustains us.
  • Climate Change: The environmental cost of importing food from around the world brings to mind this question: Why doesn't our fertile Creston Valley produce the majority of our food? The farmers of the CSA are in the process of implementing progressive farming methods that will reduce fossil fuel consumption. We also make an effort to plan creative, environmentally sensitive ways of distributing the grain, such as the 2008 event of sailing the grain to Nelson.
  • Delicious, Wholesome Food: As locally grown food becomes an integral part of our diet, we learn to use and store nutritious food. The grains shareholders receive are less processed, deliciously fresh, and are milled, flaked, or cracked as we use it, preserving the nutrient content of each grain.
  • Food Security: In an economy that does not recognize limits to growth, it is vital that each community has dependable access to a local, sustainable, and nourishing food supply. As food activist and Chair of Food Secure Canada, Cathleen Kneen wrote, "Food security includes the imperative to feed the population - indeed, any jurisdiction which cannot feed its population is at the mercy of whoever does..."