Participant Forum: Please Introduce Yourself!


Picture of Debbie Sexsmith
by Debbie Sexsmith - Thursday, October 22, 2020, 1:41 PM

Hello Michael and fellow virtual classmates from our rainy little farm in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada; a stones throw from Lake Erie and the mighty Niagara River.  I share the responsibility of caring for a 65 acre farm with my mother. It has been in my family since 1867 and is one of very few farms remaining in a rapidly growing community. Our farm has a creek, woodlot, forage crop fields, pasture and a farmstead with a barn, chicken coop, market and 2 acre CSA garden.

I have had a lengthy career working in human services and community program development with particular interests in housing and food security. We have run a very small CSA and farm stand for about 15 years as organic growers.  My father passed about 9 years ago and it has been a challenge to manage all the fieldwork on our own.  Last year I took a leap of faith and decided to leave my employment and focus on farming fulltime, as I was wearing myself out. I have had to take on some consulting work as a grant writer to help us through this transition.

About five years ago, I met a young man that was a recent graduate in Permaculture Design and he inspired me to begin reading up on it.  At first I thought it was just another trendy label and at best a new fangled way for landscapers to get business from those that can afford the luxury of hiring a bulldozer. However, while visiting the east coast, I had the pleasure of touring a number of farms that shared their permaculture practices and I began to realize that my first impression may have been short-sighted :) We actually shared many similar values.

Today I am genuinely excited to start this new learning journey with you all. Through this I hope to expand my understanding and experience a deeper connection to our land.  I plan to use this time to create a design for our farm, support community development in a new way and hopefully make some new friends :)




Picture of Christopher Schmitt
Re: Introduction
by Christopher Schmitt - Saturday, October 24, 2020, 3:23 PM

Hi Debbie!

My family and I really enjoyed reading your post and learning about your farm, which remarkably has remained in your family since 1867! Almost four years ago, we purchased our 1860 farm and farmhouse; our teenagers call the home their "big, fat, yellow farmhouse", and they are excited to be the first generation that keeps the farm (and the house!) in the family for many generations to come! You are a great inspiration to them! We look forward to learning together with you!

Picture of Michael Burns
Re: Introduction
by Michael Burns - Monday, October 26, 2020, 6:45 PM

I'm glad you've developed your opinion of permaculture some more! Because permaculture is meant to be a non-expert, generalist discipline it has very little accreditation or standardization. Unfortunately this leads to a fair number of charlatans and misuse of the word. Hope you can learn a lot that maybe applied to your farm on the Windsor Peninsula.