COLUMN: Volunteers ready to step in

On Saturday, 580 people descended on God's Little Acre farm to help harvest a bumper crop of squash.

Once the word gets out, people in Surrey are ready to help. That is especially true when there is a genuine need and it involves getting outdoors in the midst of beautiful August weather.

Jas Singh, operator of God’s Little Acre farm on 40 Avenue, needed help with harvesting vegetables and weeding on his farm. Many of the crops he grows are donated to the needy through organizations such as the Surrey Food Bank.

This is the third year he has operated the farm, and this year’s harvest is much greater than it has been. That’s due to expanded acreage in production and good weather.

Singh let local media know about his need, and they in turn informed Surrey residents. On Saturday, 580 people descended on his farm to help harvest a bumper crop of squash, some 18,000 pounds worth. He is also growing carrots, potatoes, pumpkins and cucumbers this year.

Singh said Saturday’s work – which also included weeding – puts the farm back on a regular harvesting and maintenance schedule.

“It’s not very often a farmer can stand in the middle of his fields and not see a single area that needs weeding,” he said. “But that’s what has happened.

“It really was just great – just some amazing people, and probably double (the volunteers) from what I expected,” Singh said. “We were just totally overwhelmed – the energy that everyone brought was just remarkable. These people just came to work.”

Volunteer days continue throughout the summer, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Singh appreciates all the help he can get. As any farmer would say, work needs to continue on a regular basis, as crops need harvesting, the weather changes, and regular maintenance is needed for maximum growth.

Singh does some amazing work. His original eight acres have now expanded to 34. He has partnered with a number of food banks. He has planted four acres in pickling cucumbers and is selling those to help pay himself a salary. In the past, he was involved in trucking all winter in order to get ready to operate the farm again. This year, he is trying to make it self-sustaining.

It’s a great use of some of Surrey’s most valuable farmland. The land in that area is rich and has been bountiful for generations. It is quite capable of yielding some amazing crops. Singh’s efforts go a long way to making Surrey a more sustainable community.

It’s great that Singh has put so much time and energy into helping others, and making it possible for many volunteers, who know little about farming, to get out on the land. The support he received from volunteers over the weekend is truly amazing and hopefully that level of support will continue.

He expects to harvest a total of 265,000 pounds of product this year – an amazing amount. If there is enough help, all of that will go to people who really need it.

Any food bank recipient who comes by to volunteer can take away all the produce he or she can carry.  Seniors, single parents and disabled people are all welcome to get free produce.

This is a project that deserves to get all the help it can from the community.

People like Jas Singh make Surrey a better place to live.

Frank Bucholtz is the editor of The Langley Times. He writes weekly for The Leader.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Recharged Sharks aim for playoffs after ‘well-earned’ break

Bayside rugby club mixes youth with returning veterans in quest for men’s Div. 1 title

Pedestrian fatality in Surrey

Police are investigating at 183 Street and Highway 10

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?… Continue reading

New ‘Run Surrey Run’ event on downtown city streets this spring

Organizers of 5K/10K event want to avoid traffic disruptions caused by marathon in 2012-13

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants make it nine straight

Roman scores hat trick as team dominates Seattle

Homicide team investigating after body found in Abbotsford

Resident finds deceased person on Keeping Road on Sumas Mountain

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Most Read