November, when and how did it become November? These are the deep thoughts of a farmer as the season comes to an end.
Today, we made our veggie boxes into the sunset. It has been wet, it has been cold, but that bit of sun allowed us to warm up and reminded us of why we do what we and how much we love doing what we do. Harvesting in autumn on our farm involves several almost lost boots to the mud, several falls in the mud, which of course follows with extreme amounts of laughter. Seriously, if you haven’t fallen over in the mud in a while, I highly recommend it, you can even come out to the farm and I will lend you my rain gear.
It has been an amazing second season for us here at the Tsawwassen Farm School. Our students have grown into farmers, and we have grown into a little family. There is something really special about working with a group of people as a team to accomplish goals, and that is what the farm is. The farm is team work, it is community, it is love and it is a lot of caring. The times you can really feel this the most is when we are making our veggie boxes when we all come together and work as a team to harvest, build and create these beautiful boxes of earth’s glory. Having your support as a member makes all of this possible. You are doing so much more than buying vegetables. You are supporting a program that is building farmers, and in return, together, we are building a community. Together we are supporting a more sustainable world and for me as a farmer and as a person who cares very deeply and passionately about this earth, well for me, that is everything.
As this season comes to a close and as I have grown to know a lot of you, I thought it would be really special to share with you my story of how I came to be the little farmer that I am.
Deep down I think I always knew I was destined to be a farmer. I has been a fun, interesting and beautiful journey that has taken me to where I am now. 10 years ago I started wearing plaid shirts (I know, I know, so did everyone else) but I was buying shirts to represent the future that I wanted to have. 5 years ago I declared to my parents that I knew what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted to be a farmer. I think that was the first time ever my dad said to me “now that is a great idea”. 4 years ago, my dad passed away suddenly. That hit me and my family hard. My father and I didn’t always see eye to eye on things and before he passed away we were on our way back to having a relationship that we both deserved. After my dad passed away, I felt lost. I felt like my dad would never see me become the person he always knew I could be. It was then and there that I decided that I was going to do it and I was going to do everything that I could to become a farmer. I wanted to be someone that my dad was proud of, someone that I was proud of. 4 years ago I made my first major farm investment and I bought myself a truck. I saved up money so that I could quit my job and go travelling to Europe to go work on farms to see if this is what I really wanted to do. Sure enough, two years ago I quit my job and I headed off to Europe.
One day I was working on a farm in Ireland, harvesting edible flowers (YES! there are edible flowers and they are delicious! side note: technically everything we eat starts with a flower but we will save that story for next season ). While I was harvesting flowers, there were bees swarming around me moving from flower to flower, pollinating, just doing their thing as I did my thing and i was just like THIS IS IT. This is exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life. I want to be a farmer.
When I came home from traveling, I was looking for jobs and opportunities for first generation farmers. Let me tell you it is hard to become a farmer when it doesn’t run in your family. I was looking around for different internships and opportunities and one day my friend mentioned Richmond Farm School, so I went on the KPU website and I started investigating. I honestly had no idea that a program like farm school actually existed. This was literally the program I was dreaming of. You actually get to learn how to run and work on a farm…like that is the best!! When I was in high school no one told me I could be a farmer. Yet, here it was a program that was designed to make farmers. It was March 1st, 2014 and Richmond Farm School had already started, but then I saw that there was the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School and it was starting on March 9th! I immediately got on the phone and called the program coordinator, Corine, and the next week, I was in farm school. I was on my way to becoming a farmer!
Two seasons later with an amazing farm and absolutely beautiful program, I can say to you that I am now a farmer. I am a person I am so proud to be, and I am a person that I know my dad would be proud of. Everyday I get to do what I love, and every day I get to do something that reminds me of my dad. And that, that’s the best. It is actually the best.
I want to thank you so much for your support of this program. It is so much more than vegetables. We are creating farmers, we are making dreams come true and we are building a healthier and more sustainable world.
On behalf of the TFN farm school team and students, Thank you for being a part of this all. We look forward to growing with you next season.
Until then, we sincerely wish you all the best for the next few months.
See you in the spring.