With materials and time donated by over 20 households, supported by this Neighbourhood Grant from the Salt Spring Island Foundation and the NSG Island Network, we were able to construct an awesome community farmstand! To do so, many neighbours dropped off random materials over the course of a week in our driveway, then on Saturday morning, we held an outdoor construction work-party where families worked on separate pieces of the project, such as the sign, the mini-library, chalkboards, the roof, or the main structure, or ran back and forth to the hardware store, while others brought muffins and a carafe of coffee.

Everyone was surprised by how well the Farmstand actually turned out, given that we had no pre-determined design going into it. We all enjoyed getting together during this time to create something beautiful and functional that could help people feel connected, while keeping distances and with lots of hand sanitizing. The Farmstand is located at the entrance of a connector trail from Park Drive to Kanaka, which gets alot of foot and bike traffic.

With the grant, we bought extra materials, plus small metal cash boxes with key locks, which we bolted down to the stand, plus hand sanitizer, which we attached to one of the posts. When people want to sell something, they come check out a key at our house, which is just across the street from the stand. So far, the most popular items have been the give-and-take books, especially with the library closed. People have also brought bouquets, clothing and shoes, puzzles and games, garden produce, coconut yogurt, muffins and cookies, potted herbs and trees, and packaged food to give away and sell. There’s a free seed exchange, too, which was more popular earlier in the summer. At the start, we had a big wooden trunk out there with used clothes for free. One day, the trunk was gone, so we posted something about it online, and the next day a guy brought it back — he’d grabbed it at night and had really scored with a free trunk, but once he opened it up and found it full of clothes, he realized it wasn’t a giveaway, itself. Some kids were selling strawberry-limeade that day, so gave him a free cup.

Here are a few quotes from neighbours about the stand:

“I am loving walking past the farm stand and checking it out. It is a great community project. I have begun to make sure I carry a little change with me for the times when I see something I might like. One of these days I’ll have something to put out there too.” – Gail Neuman

“It is truly beautiful!! Great idea having this project for us to get together today. Thanks for hosting and arranging everything.” – Eva Lam

“Wonderful coconut vanilla yogurt and small zucchini at the farm stand today and I just left a new juvenile novel there which features a cat. Thanks to all who built, organized and contributed to this beautiful neighbourhood hub. Inspiring what can be accomplished together.” – Elizabeth Buchanan

“That is SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you for organizing us all—it’s wonderful to have helped build something in the midst of everything happening. I love that this farmstead exists and that we had a tiny part in helping it to exist. It can be a great learning tool for the kids, as well, especially now that the market’s not an option for learning the early stages of running a business. And it was so great to meet everyone.” – Lavonne Leong

“Thank you for the farm stand!!  It looks so awesome, we love walking past it on our way to town.  Our girls want to go through their books to donate as well as make treats for our neighbors:).” – Kimoko Brown

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