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Name of the organization

Gambier Island Sea Ranch


North end of Long Bay, Gambier Island

Website (if applicable)


Rosalie Boulter

Email address:

Phone number


Availability for contact (in September, October and November)

Available. Schedule varies but should be able to respond to email promptly. Telephone maybe during day but available most evenings.

A scope statement for the project

Project Title


Project Context

The Gambier Island Sea Ranch (GISR) farm vision strives for an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable farm that enables us to make a small profit. The farm has seven fenced fields. These fields were left fallow in 2013, while significant mowing and harrowing work and some reseeding was done to improve pasture quality. In May 2014, GISR brought 12 lambs and 7 pigs to the island to be reared over the summer and taken off the island for slaughter in the fall. 2014 was the first year that GISR put pigs on pasture. We chose an area deemed to be poor for sheep so that the pigs would work the field for us and improve the soil of the pasture. The lambs have a large area. At the end of July 2014, the free-range pigs-on-pasture method appears to be successful; the pigs are happy, social and real characters and are gaining good weight but not overeating purchased feed. They have become breakout artists and now seem not to be wary of the electric fence! The GISR budget for farm improvements is not large. Materials must be brought over by boat or barge and need to be easily maintained by the on-site Farm Manager. All power is generated by solar, hydro and fuel generators. As we have worked to rehabilitate our fields, we noted that one field, used in the past for sheep pasture, does not seem to be as productive as most of the others. This field, “Thistle Down”, has a pronounced slope and we are concerned about the quality of the soil for pasturing animals. GISR has a history of having fruit and nut trees. Over the years, the number of trees has dwindled and the remaining trees are getting older, less productive and subject to rot. There is interest from the community to introduce new fruit and nut trees. As we examine the best use for Thistle Down, one option we would like to consider is its use for soil-based farming, perhaps as an orchard.

Project Scope

  • Develop a usage plan for our Thistle Down field.
    • Examine the current soil quality and types of vegetation.
    • Address slope and drainage issues.
    • List pros and cons of utilization of the field as a pasture for sheep or pigs.
    • List pros and cons of utilization for soil-based farming – e.g., for garlic, grapes or as an orchard.
  • Where should we best place an orchard at GISR?
    • What type of orchard produce would be best in what location?
    • Recommend specific orchard product types, given pollination needs and use and storage requirements, etc.


  • We have limited human resources for land-based farming.
  • Any animal or agriculture project requires protection from the wildlife found on the island including deer, bear, cougar, wolves, mink, otters, raccoons, eagles and other birds.
  • All of the Gulf Islands have limited water resources, so any solution cannot be water intensive.
  • We also wish to have farm operations, e.g., orchards, visible to the community and with easy access by the community.

Main project goals and objectives:

Project Goal: Provide detailed analysis of the sites and recommendations based on the pros and cons of each possibility.

Recommended research method(s):

Recommended research method: GISR site tour and assessment; soil analysis and drainage requirements for pasture management best practices and orchard use.

Potential information sources:

Potential information sources: GISR site plan; small farm best practice resources; similar non-industrial farm operations in BC; agriculture and building materials supply firms.

Expected outcome(s):

Report with supported recommendations, including detailed pros and cons for Thistle Down and another orchard location.

Please list potential community service opportunities for LFS 350 students in your organization (preferably related to the project):

List of possible GISR Community Service Opportunities for students: Assist with the GISR October turkey kill and processing. If timing right, could help with getting pigs and sheep off island and doing pen/shelter clean up. As the GISR is reached via Water Taxi and poor weather issues increase as Fall progresses, it is suggested that the Community Service be scheduled as early as possible. The project may need to take place on a weekend if community members need to assist.