Nearly 600 people turned out to God's Little Acre farm Saturday to help pick produce grown for local food banks and charities.
Without the community's help, the produce would have likely gone bad before it was harvested.
"I was totally floored. I couldn't have even dreamt of having it work out this good," farm operator Jas Singh said Monday.
In recent weeks, Singh has publicly urged residents to volunteer to help pick the produce before it spoils. Roughly 580 people harvested 18,000 pounds of squash Saturday - and weeded the entire farm.
"I had to sit in the fields for an hour and try and absorb it all in. It's kind of like, you're building a house and some people show up to help get it done, but they also do the lawn," Singh said. "I was thinking maybe the volunteers would get half the farm done. Not only did we get the entire farm done, they put crop cover on one acre. I was just blown away."
Singh started God's Little Acre three years ago and grew 62,000 pounds of potatoes on three acres of land, all donated to those in need. Fast forward to the present and he's expecting 265,000 pounds of vegetables from the 34 acres he's farmed. The bounty includes carrots, red potatoes, green beans, mixed squash and cucumber.
Singh said his dream for the farm came true this weekend.
"I remember the first year I came here and you kind of daydream about what could be. I remember thinking that within a couple years, maybe three or four years, I envisioned the whole farm being seeded and I envisioned maybe a hundred people helping. That was a dream, and here I was, standing there, looking at the entire farm already seeded, and at one time there must've been over 450 people here," he said.
"I told people, this farm is just as much yours now as it is mine."
Singh was excited when a Sikh temple in New Westminster offered to bring lunch for volunteers Saturday.
"That was the first time that people in the Indian community - in my community - got involved in the farm," Singh said.
Sukhpreet Singh with the Sikh Temple Sukhsagar said he saw a message from Coun. Barinder Rasode on social media, asking if anyone was able to bring lunch to the volunteers the following day.
"We wanted to help energize the volunteers and contribute in that way," Sukhpreet said. "Farming isn't easy."
The temple has been a long-time supporter of Guru Nanak's free kitchen.
While volunteers are picking produce next Saturday, there will be a bit of a party going on. One or two stages will be set up to provide live music, there will be wagon rides and the temple will be bringing food again. There will be "power hours" throughout the day, where volunteers will be encouraged to pick as many potatoes as they can in an hour. The goal is to pick 40,000 pounds.
Initially, volunteers were asked to come to the farm Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to dark, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those times still stand, but now, people who have already contributed can come anytime. Volunteers are asked to text message (instead of call) a day in advance, to 604-375-1172, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013