Just 10 minutes from Port Alberni on 172 acres is Shelter Farm, a social enterprise operated by The Port Alberni Shelter Society. The Shelter Farm is a small-scale market garden initiative that works to alleviate the negative effects poverty has on health in our community.
Freshly picked  cauliflower head at Shelter Farm Port Alberni
We grow greens, salad mixes, assorted vegetables and fruit. We offer Market Gardener and Food Processing training. The farm grows vegetables that provide a source of nutrition for our clients and are sold at markets and local restaurants to help generate income to support our shelter and programs.

Port Alberni Shelter Farm Greenhouse

Shelter Farm is also home to the “Market Gardener Training Program” and our new "Pathway to Food Production and Processing Program." These programs are offered in partnership North Island College. Students develop hands-on skills in growing crops, irrigation, weeding, integrated pest management, and disease control. Students also develop skills in crop planning, business management, budgeting, and marketing.

Person Tilling the field with equipment at Shelter Farm Port Alberni Shelter Society

The Shelter Farm Training Institute provides formal Market Gardening training to all farm interns. This training is delivered through a combination of in-class learning at North Island College and hands on experiential training at the Shelter Farm, utilizing the latest production methods and tools available to Market Gardeners.

Operating the Tiller at Port Alberni Shelter Farm

As a student, you start off in the classroom learning plant and soil biology applying agro-ecological farming practices. You will then be engaged in learning greenhouse management methods at the college and the farm, involving greenhouse plant propagation and how to prepare seedlings for planting in the Market Garden.

Harvesting Cauliflower and Brassicas at Shelter Farm Port Alberni

As the season progresses most of student training is held at the farm, direct seeding crops and transplanting seedlings in the market garden. You will also learn intensive greenhouse production methods of growing crops such as tomatoes and peppers. Participants will learn about crop management, developing skills in irrigation, weeding, Integrated Pest Management and disease control. Participants will also develop business management skills in crop planning, budgeting, marketing and developing a formal business plan for a farm business.

Person Holding Pattypan Squashes at Shelter Farm Port Alberni

Keep up to date with the Shelter Farm by visiting us on Facebook, and visit our website to learn more about our programs.

Person holding fresh-harvested tomatoes at Shelter Farm Port Alberni