Open Sky Co-operative - Sackville, NB
Open Sky Co-operative was founded in 2011 as a community-based charitable organization that provides transitional support for adults who experience barriers due to disability, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or mental health challenges. They sit on 11 acres just outside Sackville, NB, and are home to two donkeys, one goat, and about 40 chickens. Through farming and therapeutic gardening experiences, Open Sky provides skills-training programs, residential supports, vocational assistance, and community connections, to improve opportunities and quality of life.
Open Sky Co-operative is home to a variety of products including fresh vegetables, berries, and fruit in season, as well as fresh eggs year-round. They also sell pickles and preserves.
Sarah Poirier took over as Farm Coordinator at Open Sky in 2020 and had some very big shoes to fill! The two previous Farm Coordinators deserve a ton of credit for designing the current farm layout and overseeing infrastructure improvements, such as their two greenhouses and the creation of a pond that they can use for irrigation.
Sarah was raised in a very rural community and has had a life-long love affair with animals and the outdoors, particularly vegetables, flowers, and perennial gardens. One of her passions is sustainability, and over the years Open Sky has been working towards sustainable solutions for “global weirding” – solar power for irrigation, shading and venting for our greenhouses, etc.
We asked Sarah what the most satisfying part of farming is for her, and here is what she had to say:
“I love sharing the joy of growing things! Many of the folks who work with me have never grown anything by themselves. When they harvest their first zucchini, beans, or beets from the plants that they nursed from a seed, it is an amazing thing. Even more amazing is when they can take that vegetable and create something yummy in the kitchen to nourish themselves or other community members.”
According to Sarah, here are a few tips for young greenhorns that are interested in getting into farming:
- Don’t underestimate the power of community. Get to know other farmers or growers in your area. Share tips, tricks, crazy ideas, labour, seeds…
- Think outside the box – don’t be afraid to experiment with a new variety or try a new farming method, especially if “that’s the way it’s always been done”.
Open Sky Co-operative is open for vegetables, preserves & pickles, and egg purchase onsite (12 Folkins Dr, Sackville) in season (usually early July-October), and attend the Sackville Farmer’s Market from May until Thanksgiving. We have previously offered a weekly CSA through the summer, and in the 2023 season we will be focusing our energy towards addressing food in/security in our local community.
To find out more about Open Sky Co-operative, visit http://openskyco-op.ca/homepage/