Owen Madden and Emily Jubenvill are the passionate farmers behind Shuswap Organics, which provides local, organic, sustainably-grown ingredients and preserves from the Shuwap, directly to families, restaurants and businesses throughout the North and Central Okanagan – including UBCO Food Services!
They work with other local growers to bring fresh organic produce, as well as their line of local preserves, to kitchens and markets around the region, while advocating for small-scale farmers and sustainable farming practices.
Shuswap Organics Feeds UBCO
more than 1,000 pounds of seasonal produce weekly, including:
The Shuswap Organics Story
Owen and Emily are the passionate growers behind Shuswap Organics, an aggregate of locally-sourced and organic produce and preserves. Owen – a former environmental lawyer, and Emily – a farmer with a background in Environmental Science, moved to the North Okanagan from Vancouver in order to expand upon their mission to grow healthy fresh food for our community that also supports the health of our animals and the environment.
The couple began their organic farming journey with the launch of Enderberry Farm in 2016, with the aim of providing organic, local, sustainably-grown farm-fresh ingredients to the communities of Enderby, Armstrong, Vernon and Salmon Arm. Located in the Shuswap River Valley and overlooking the Enderby Cliffs, Enderberry Farm is 21 acres of rolling hills and forest, and produces more than 50 varieties of vegetables, berries, tree fruits, and herbs, and is home to a flock of pasture-raised laying hens and a small herd of Alpine dairy goats.
Owen and Emily grow organic produce, and sell their ingredients at their farm stand, local farmers markets, directly to retailers, and through their Harvest Box.
- Berries, like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
- Tree fruits like apples and plums
- Eggs from pasture-raised hens, which are fed non-GMO grain
- Over 40 varieties of mixed vegetables
- Harvest Box (available from June to October)
Owen and Emily’s preserves are hand-made in small batches from locally-sourced ingredients that capture the seasons, including tomato jam, carrot marmalade and radish relish.
Owen and Emily’s inspiration for starting their farming business was the realization that, through growing and selling healthy local food, they could begin to address the bigger challenges our society faces through climate change.
“(We) are coming to farming from an impact on the climate,” says Owen.
“My personal joy in my work comes from knowing how close to our consumers we are, and how the food we provided to them travelled such a short distance,” Owen says. “I know it was grown in the healthiest soil, without the use of harmful GMOs, pesticides or herbicides. I know we are improving the soil here every day we farm, and that will be our legacy when we can farm no more.”
Enderby in particular – where Owen and Emily grow their food – is a green oasis, and farmers here are not only feeding their community, but also providing a vital service to the local ecosystem and the climate.
Aside from the opportunity to produce organic and sustainably-grown food, Owen says he feels privileged to be able to build a relationship with the people in his community, while advocating for the local agricultural industry.
For his part, Owen’s passion for sustainability started more than 15 years ago when he (then a lawyer) began to recognize the impacts of climate change during a conversation with a potato farmer expressing his struggles with strange and unpredictable weather. Inspired by this, Owen began reeducating in Climate Change Law in Scotland, then in Ecojustice in Vancouver. From there, he was the climate campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.
Now a farming family in Enderby, Emily and Owen grow as much of their ingredients as they can on their organic farm, and when they need more than they can grow, they work directly with local farms and thoughtfully-selected suppliers.
“What are our values? Why do we do what we do?” asks Owen. “We keep it clean. The way we grow food is extremely clean. No herbicides, no pesticides, no GMOs. The bees love where we farm and it creates a lot of biodiversity around us.
We are fully committed to organic farming because I believe we are creating a cleaner product and that’s how we make change.
Our value is supporting our local community. Our staff matter to us, and have brought huge amounts of resources to us. They are amazingly supportive. I value how we are an awkward change maker. I’m pushing back against the status quo and challenging that little voice in a lot of people which knows that local food is better.
“Our strategies for growth moving forward, we want to lean on the relationships we’ve developed with local growers and aggregate more of their product as well as our own product. To be a more large-scale supplier.”
Shuswap Organics | Photos by Maylies Lang