The Land and Farm
The Blackburn valley land on which the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga sits has been farmed for close to one hundred and fifty years. In recognition of this the provincial government included all seventy acres in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Since purchasing the land in 1981 we have continued that tradition and, in keeping with our yoga philosophy, Centre staff work the land using only natural methods to maintain soil fertility and minimize crop pests. Of the thirty acres of pasture about six acres are deer-fenced and used for farming.
Over the years many fine farmers have worked the land growing food for the Centre kitchen. The Farm Coordinator is assisted in the summer by “farm yogis” from the Yoga Service & Study Immersion program. Those interested in this work should see the relevant section of our website. In addition, our extended community members continue to assist in the various tasks required to plant, grow, maintain and harvest the various gardens, whenever extra hands are needed.
The gardens not only yield healthy, organic, nutritious fruit, vegetables and herbs, but also provide an inspiring and restful place to sit quietly or stroll amid the flowers. There is also a scenic woodland trail that runs along Blackburn Creek as it winds down the west side of the valley to Blackburn Lake. Bordered by majestic cedars, firs and maples, the Centre land is strikingly beautiful in all seasons.
The Food and Kitchen
As a yoga centre we strive to offer the finest quality meals to our guests and resident community. To supplement our farm harvest, we strive to purchase organically grown food as much as possible. Our meals are both fresh and tasty, and prepared with love. Under the guidance of our Kitchen Coordinator, kitchen staff maintain a serene and happy environment as they prepare the vegetarian cuisine for which the Centre is renowned.
We follow a simple and whole food diet that is calming to the mind and body, and avoid stimulating foods. This aids meditation by reducing mental and emotional disturbances of the mind. In keeping with these principles, our diet is lacto-vegetarian; we incorporate dairy products in moderate amounts, but do not use eggs, fish or meat of any kind. As practicing yogis, we also avoid the use of onions and garlic as they can over-stimulate the mind.
Our delicious and nutritious meals are often the highlight of our guests’ stays. They are prepared lovingly in a serene environment, and cover a wide range of tastes. These include freshly-baked muffins and granola, ethnic dishes from India, Thailand and the Mediterranean, vibrant salads with homemade dressings, and delicious desserts. The overwhelmingly positive response to our meals and the frequent requests for recipes have led to the publishing of two Centre cookbooks. The second book, “The Salt Spring Experience: Recipes for Body, Mind and Spirit” is available for purchase at the office and is popular with our guests wanting to take a piece of their experience home with them.