A South Surrey farmer who has been growing free food for the needy is planning to open a produce store.
Jas Singh, who operates God’s Little Acre farm at 16582 40 Ave., estimates he has given away more than 100,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to individuals, local food banks and other charitable organizations during the farm’s first two years.
For Year 3, Singh is planning to convert a building on the site into a members-only farm stand that will subsidize the farms’ food donations by selling $100 memberships.
Singh hopes to have “God’s Little Acre Club” operating by next May.
Limited to 300 members for the first year, the club will allow families to purchase local and imported produce at 25 to 50 per cent off.
Members will be permitted to sign up needy people for free using a “buddy card.”
Singh says disabled people, seniors, single parents, anyone on social assistance or signed up for any poverty relief program – such as the Christmas Bureau or the food bank system – will qualify.
On Sunday, Singh showed a Peace Arch News reporter where the farm stand would be located and how he plans to uses about 30 tons of trucked-in soil to produce a mineral-enriched environment for growing better quality produce.
“This will make us self-sufficient,” Singh said of the planned membership program.
“We’re hoping that the majority of people we sign up will be people in need.”
He is also hoping to raise $4,000 to build an 80-by-40-foot greenhouse.
Singh said the farm does not plan to seek organic certification “in order to keep prices reasonable.”
He said the move to establish the farm stand and the membership club is a result of his own frustration with “the lack of interest for straight donations.”
The farm operates on a 30-acre parcel of donated land that used to be a chicken farm.
It currently reports that it has 150 volunteers.
One of those unpaid workers, Cloverdale resident Vicki Olson, was present Sunday.
Singh said Olson’s role in the farm has grown considerably since she first started volunteering, to the point where she functions as its operations manager.
Olson, who said she comes from a farming background, was pleased by the comments, but not sure she liked the title.
“Maybe you could think of something else,” she told Singh as the visit wrapped up.
People interested in the club can sign up by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and then download the forms from the web page www.godslittleacrefarm.com