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about the art farm

Deer represents gentleness in the face of overwhelming fear and anxiety.  A crossing is a place where ideas meet and new possibilities emerge. The Art Farm aims to be this place: a sanctuary that guides us from a place of separation and fear to a place of connection and wonder.

Founded in 2009 by two artists and their family, The Art Farm has since grown into a robust community-engaged arts organization that hosts and tours events, workshops, productions and collaborations year-round.

our vision + mission

We envision a world where people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can engage in creative projects that reconnect us with the land, ourselves, and each other.

Our mission is to hold space for the mess of creativity and honour this practice through ceremony and celebration.

our values

We embrace, welcome, and champion under-represented cultures, ages, abilities, bodies, genders, and people.

We create space—sanctuary—where new voices and ideas can mingle, collaborate, and emerge. If someone needs their family to come, we invite the whole family. We are consistently awed by the magic of letting our pre-conceived notions go.

We amplify and showcase this work; we seek avenues to share it with our wider community; we aim to gently shift our audiences from a place of separation and fear to a place of connection and wonder.

We aim to close the divide between our species and the natural world that colonization has constructed.

We recognize that certain ages, abilities, bodies, genders and people have been systematically excluded from positions of power, authority and voice. We aim to shift this inequity through our collaborations, our work, and our organization.

We recognize the impact of the unjust systems that we all live within—grounded in fear, oppression, and anxiety—and we aim to transform these systems for ourselves and for our community.  We seek to emulate the beautiful spaces emerging in communities of resistance around the world. We acknowledge this can be both a joyful and an uncomfortable experience, and we seek to live in and accept all of it.

While we seek contributions from underrepresented voices and abilities, we recognize there are different intersections in this work and that not everybody can access it the same way. We are aware that our work is still not accessible to some. We know we have blind spots. We see this, we want to change this, and we are open to any and all feedback.


holding space for the mess of creativity

Our practice recognizes that we are currently mired in unjust human-made systems, systems that—in the pursuit of growth and control—have over-run our lives. These systems emphasize measurable outcomes over feelings, intuitions, and the wisdom of our ancestors. These systems seek definition and category; clear dualities between one thing and another (good/bad, useful/useless, smart/dumb). They value efficiency, order and individualism above all else. These systems gravitate towards top-down hierarchies. Cleanliness is revered. Messiness is avoided.

The practice acknowledges a yearning to embrace a little more mess in our lives. We lean towards this.

Those who are least heard within these systems—least represented—are our guides in this practice. They hold powers those currently in positions of political or financial privilege are unable to access; they can imagine beyond the limitations of the systems we are in.  This is not to romanticize oppression. Being in a position where you are systematically ignored is not a desirable state of being. We devote our time, our energy, our resources, and our hearts to listening, amplifying, and elevating their stories and wisdom, and—with their blessing and direction—we share this with the systems that surround us.

We hold space for the stories to emerge and for the stories to be heard.

The Smart Farm Project

Based out of five acres of land on the unceded traditional territories of the Sḵwx̱wú?mesh nation, The Art Farm is currently in the process of a rezoning application through the local regional district to lead what we’re calling a “Smart Farm” pilot. 
A Smart Farm is an innovative land use model that provides below-market land access for farmers, while increasing the housing density on small acreages outside of the Agriculture Land Reserve. The Smart Farm project was envisioned by Chad Hershler and Sandy Buck, co-founders of Deer Crossing The Art Farm, based on their own experience trying to maximize use of their land while minimizing their personal footprint. The Art Farm has stewarded this vision over the past decade, overseeing case studies, feasibility reports, and even developing a website to share the concept with the wider community. 

Our Smart Farm pilot would allow for two auxiliary dwellings and assembly use for cultural gatherings on the land we currently lease. Translated into non-“planning” language, this means adding two tiny homes (no bigger than 800 square feet) to our 5-acre property and allowing for a limited number of small gatherings (no larger than 50) of children, youth, adults, and elders to continue facilitating the cultural work of The Art Farm. The pilot would provide much needed affordable housing to members of our community, while also building on the lands potential for food and cultural production.