By Linda Chan & Marion Yas
Every Saturday morning, Luke Borisenko rises at dawn to prepare for the James Bay Community Market. He sells a unique collection of plants and seeds grown in his expanding backyard garden operation, known as Artfarm, located in the heart of James Bay. Luke has a strong commitment to being environmentally friendly and sustainable, using all organic ingredients in his potting mixes, natural kelp fertilizers, and recycled containers whenever possible. Artfarm is also carbon neutral, as Luke hauls his plants, seeds, crafts, tables and tent to market using two wagons pulled by bicycle. The seeds he sells are saved from plants grown in his garden and packaged in unique handmade envelopes made from the pages of vintage National Geographic magazines. The plants he sells range from culinary and medicinal herbs to unusual houseplants and succulents.
Luke started his first garden alongside his mother's as a young child and comes from a family of avid gardeners and herbalists. His Mom and two sisters also currently operate farms and run small businesses, including Jessy Delleman of Fireweed Farm & Ravensong Seeds in Saanichton. Luke spends his time working in his garden, researching new plants, and creating various arts and crafts. He and his wife, Amanda, also run an Artfarm store on Etsy (artfarmetsy.etsy.com) where they have seeds and several collage artworks for sale.
Come find Luke's Artfarm stand every Saturday 9 am to 3 pm at the James Bay Community market on the corner of Menzies and Superior. Luke is happy to answer your growing queries and help you find the right plants for your garden, with new and interesting varieties ready every week. Plants currently for sale include veggie starts, parsley, dill, cilantro, thyme, sage, rue, tarragon, fenugreek, Moldavian balm, moringa, and several varieties of basil and mint.