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Five Loaves Farm starts new market, food series

May 11th, 2011 | Category: Community

by Kate Nichols

Five Loaves Farm, a network of community gardens and food bank farms based in Lynden, is organizing a new farmer’s market that will open Saturday, June 4.

The driving force behind Five Loaves Farm is David Timmer. Combining his interests in local food, ecology, and a degree in biology, Timmer works as a volunteer for A Rocha, an international Christian community-based conservation organization. He felt the mission of the organization with its hands-on approach and desire to create connections fit his local interests as well. Timmer set up various conservation projects around Lynden for several years, and in 2009 he secured enough funding to hire staff, and get the project up and running. The Lynden group became an official chapter of A Rocha (meaning “the rock” in Portuguese), and is now one of seven U.S. chapters.
“With our connection to agriculture, Lynden is a place that definitely needs a farmers market. We know there will be logistics to work out, but we hope this community will support it,” Timmer said via press release. “Most of all, we want to make sure it is worthwhile for the farm vendors to participate. Farmers are busy, they often tow a fine line financially, and we know how much of a time investment it is to attend a market.”

Putting up the new sign: Five Loaves Farm organizer Dave Timmer, Shawn Hofing, Youth Pastor at Third Christian Reformed Church, Alyce Werkema, volunteer and organizer of Growing Together Community Garden, Walter Haugen, long-time local farmer and farm manager at Five Loaves Farm, and Jeff Littlejohn, Imagine NW Director and organizer of North City Community Garden. COURTESY PHOTO

Managing the market is local farmer and community activist Walter Haugen, who started the initial farmers’ market in Ferndale as a tailgate market in a restaurant parking lot. Haugen has been involved with sustainable local food production for several years, and is also one of the teachers behind the Community Garden Information Series, another project of Five Loaves Farm (see sidebar).

Timmer believes that growing local food is a major part of conservation, and through Five Loaves Farm has helped start various community gardens in Lynden to get fresh, local food to residents who need it. The project is also located on the grounds of the Third Christian Reform Church. Food from the farm is given to the Christian Health Care Center, as well as Lynden’s food bank Project Hope, and the AGAPE Project, a ministry to the migrant farm worker community. Volunteers who help at the farm also receive food.

As for the farmers market, Timmer said they are continuing to accept vendors.  At a presentation held in mid-April, 10 local farmers expressed interest in the new market. In addition, the City of Lynden has waived its requirement for city business licenses.

The market will be held Saturdays through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Third Christian Reformed Church, in its north parking lot at 6th and Edson. There are no stall fees. For more information, contact Timmer at (360) 961-4061 or  dave.timmer@arocha.org.

James Timmer, 5, and his brother Conrad, 3, check out the water situation at Five Loaves Farm last summer. COURTESY PHOTO

Gardening series

A monthly community gardening series is being offered through a collaboration of Five Loaves Farm, Imagine NW!, North City Community Garden, and Growing Together Community Garden. The series will address specific food growing techniques (seeds, starts, raised beds, container gardening, and food preservation) as well as events such as planting times, a harvest party, and the Farmers Market kick-off. The series started in late March, with Walter Haugen teaching the basics of starting a garden. “There is a continual increasing demand from people for community gardens, there is also some incredible knowledge out there that we hope this series can tap into,” said Jeff Littlejohn, Director of Imagine NW! and organizer of the North City Community Garden.

For more information about the series, visit the Five Loaves Farm website at www.fiveloavesfarm.blogspot.com. Local residents can also learn more about community gardens and sign up for a plot.

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