In an idyllic location near Stamp Falls Provincial Park, the Darby family has been working the soil at their family farm for four generations.
Their dedication to family and community is being recognized, as Darby Farm is British Columbia’s latest recipient of the Century Farm Award. This award honours farms, ranches and agricultural organizations that have been active in British Columbia for a century or longer.
“The Darby family’s story is so rich and an important chapter in our British Columbia family farm history,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, in a press release. “They have been providing their community with locally grown and raised products for decades. I want to congratulate the Darby family on their award and for being such an important part of B.C. agriculture.”
The farm was purchased by Sidney J. Darby and his brother, Melville B. Darby in 1916. Sidney was married to Elizabeth Darby, who came to the Alberni Valley as a young girl and was an Alberni Valley pioneer. Sidney passed away in 1960, and the farm title was passed on to his two sons: Jim and Ted Darby. Elizabeth continued to live on the farm until her death in 1981.
In 1976, Ted was killed in a farm accident, but Jim continued to farm with his wife, Phyllis. They raised their children on the family farm. In 2013, their daughter Heather moved back to the farm with her children. Jim passed away in 2016 and Phyllis in 2017. Heather and her sister Doreen now manage the family farm together.
Four generations of the Darby Family have lived and worked on the farm. Over the decades, Darby Farm has produced dairy, produce, hay, beef and eggs. Today, the farm produces hay, eggs, beef and garlic.
“My children and I have the honour and privilege of living on our century-old farm because of the love, labour and sacrifice put forth by my grandparents, uncle and parents,” Heather said in a press release. “One hundred years of family and farm history made possible because they were able to live and work together, combining skills and resources to ensure that the farm remained productive and available to future generations. My sister and I are very grateful and proud to accept this award in honour of them.”