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B.C. CSA project to move grain by sailboat

A community-supported agriculture (CSA) project in British Columbia’s southern interior plans to move Creston Valley farmers’ grain to Nelson — by sailboat.

The CSA project, which bills itself as the first such project for grain in Canada, will move sacks of Red Fife, Khorasan and hard spring wheat, spelt and oats on a “fleet” of sailboats from Kuskanook, about 25 km north of Creston, up Kootenay Lake to Nelson — a trip which by truck would meander over about 150 km of mountain highways.

The grain is destined for a Nelson bakery, which bought 2,000 pounds, and for another 180 CSA project members, who each paid $100 to receive 100 pounds of grain.

“My initial motivation to have grain grown locally was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said CSA project founder Matt Lowe of the West Kootenay EcoSociety in a release Monday.

“I never imagined that there were farmers out there eager to grow grains with horses instead of tractors and I certainly had never thought that anyone would propose to transport the grains via sailboat.”

The boats are to leave Kuskanook early Saturday afternoon (Oct. 25) and reach Nelson late Sunday afternoon (Oct. 26).

This year’s project involves a group of “local food advocates” as well as three farming families, a bakery and two millers. “There are also many bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores who are all expressing an eager interest to become involved next season,” project co-ordinators said in Monday’s release.

“I was inspired by the local grain project the moment I heard about it,” said Jay Blackmore, a member of the Kootenay Lake Sailing Association whose boat will be involved in this weekend’s grain handle, in the CSA release.

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