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 :)