A young couple from Cobble Hill were declared the 2019 BC & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers at an awards ceremony in Abbotsford on March 12.
Egg producers and vegetable growers Cammy and James Lockwood of Lockwood Farms narrowly beat out an Abbotsford couple to earn the prestigious award.
James Lockwood grew up in a wholesale ornamental nursery but was on his way to a career with the RCMP when he and Cammy decided to grow a few vegetables for themselves. They also bought three hens to produce their own eggs. They were instantly hooked — but apparently for different reasons.
“James figured out farming was in his blood; I figured out I was pregnant,” Cammy recalled.
The duo, along with James’s father Barry, created Lockwood Farms in 2011 and began with 399 laying hens and a few rows of vegetables.
The Duncan Farmer’s Market was their key selling venue.
With the help of four employees and several WWOOFERS (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) they now intensively crop two acres of vegetables which they sell at the Duncan and two other nearby farmers markets and to local restaurants. After winning the BC Egg Marketing Board New Entrant Program lottery in 2015, they were able to expand their flock to 3,000. They have since purchased quota for another 1,250 birds and now have 4,250 free-range layers in a state-of-the-art aviary system. It is the first Canadian layer flock to include Black Soldier Fly in its diet.
“Insects are a very natural part of a hen’s diet, yet conventional feed has not included insect protein,” the Lockwoods note. “We believe this is the way of the future and are so excited to be pioneering this feed in our industry.”
It hasn’t been an easy ride by any means.
Barry Lockwood was diagnosed with cancer last June and died in November, leaving James and Cammy with “all the joy, the debt, the income, the responsibility, the property, the maintenance and so much more.”
With the help of the community, they’ve stayed strong and mindful of their mission.
“We are not trying to be better than anyone else, we just want to be better at what we do, more knowledgeable, better stewards, better parents, better citizens, better friends, better owners, better employers and better farmers,” they said.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program annually recognizes farmers who exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture.
The Lockwoods will represent B.C. at the national event in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Dec. 4-8. At that event two national winners will be chosen from the winners in seven regions across Canada.