Theft from Vancouver Island’s White and Green Farms has become such an issue that it stops Eric White from doing other jobs around the property.
Thieves will walk away with produce, eggs and jam, which can be pretty upsetting for White, given his hard work on his farm, located in the rural community Metchosin, west of Victoria.
“I’ll pay for the jars of jam, and then they steal them, which is quite bothersome,” he said.
The ‘honour system’ farmstand is an excellent way for people in the community to get their fruit and vegetables straight from the source before they are put into giant trucks and shipped across the country, said White.
“It cannot get any closer to the farm than the farmstand.”
White has installed cameras at the farmstand, which causes him significant discomfort, as he hates having to monitor people.
“I watch my camera far too often. Far too often, you know, it’s just a little lady or, you know, someone just picking up a few vegetables, and it’s all you know, 99 per cent of the time, it’s nothing.”
He has never personally witnessed a theft, but has seen plenty on the camera and is seriously considering more security measures.
It is White’s fifth year of farming, and he set up the farmstand about a year ago.
“I started six years ago when I lived in an apartment growing microgreens,” he said.
He has not had much luck going to the police, as they have more important crimes to investigate, he said, but has had great support from his local community.
“We’ve had almost 100-per-cent success rate on identifying people,” he said.
White mainly grows mixed vegetables on his farm, such as zucchini, beets, turnips and cantaloupes, which takes a lot of time and effort, he said.
There is a lot of forgiveness when it comes to the farmstand, White said, and quite often will excuse those who are short a dollar or two.
“The people just loading up their arms and walking out without paying are the problem.”