Books and Resources


kitten
In early March, the NFU (National Farmers Union) Youth held our annual retreat – this year just outside Edmonton, Alberta, at a historic log cabin called Rundle’s Mission. We had at least one person from each province in attendance (except for Newfoundland-Labrador and the Territories…it would be great to fill those voids for next year!). There were some conversations about being referred to as “Youth.” All of us in attendance were clearly grown-ups…I’d say that 30 was an average age. But when we’re talking about the farming community, under 40 is often considered a young farmer (technically within the NFU […]

How old can a Young Farmer be? and ...


farm workshop
We spent 2 days in a row away from the farm early this week, to learn through on-farm workshops that were each being held about 3 hours from our farm but in opposite directions. On Sunday, we went out to a field day at Strawberry Hill Farm in Pembroke, NB and then, on Monday, to Abundant Acres in Centre Burlington, NS for a workshop called Grow Better, Not Bigger with Jean-Martin Fortier, farmer and author of The Market Gardener. The field day at Strawberry Hill Farm was organized by ACORN and the NB Department of Agriculture. Tim and Kirsten Livingstone, […]

Visits to far-off farms


Check out this group of rockstar farmers (and rockstar farm allies)! This “family photo” is from the 2015 NFU Youth Retreat, held in Wakefield,QC that I just returned from. This is a yearly event, you can read my blog post from last year’s Retreat in BC. It was beyond amazing and definitely a highlight of my year. I have come away feeling refreshed, ready for this farming season, and inspired to make sure I’m always keeping myself informed about the larger picture in agriculture (larger than my farm…this includes my regional farming community, our national farming community, as well as […]

Pickles and Policy



Technically, the Food Secure Canada (FSC) conference isn’t a farming conference. This was a “big picture” conference with more academics and project managers in attendance than farmers. There were no production, marketing, or business sessions as there are in most farming conferences. But there were sessions on policy, the state of agriculture nationally and globally, and food systems issues and success stories. In the farm business planning course we took before starting Broadfork Farm, Bryan and I learned that Policy Risks are just as important to be aware of and prepare for as Production Risks. And so, we made a commitment to […]

Farming Conferences: Part 3


The Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (or ACORN) holds a conference yearly, moving through locations in NS, NB, and PEI. I think it has become the best farming conference in Canada! This year’s conference was the biggest it’s ever been with attendees coming not only from within Atlantic Canada, but all across Canada and the Northeast U.S. Here are some highlights from this year’s conference (held in Halifax….next year’s will be in PEI). Bryan and I typically attend different sessions and so our highlights are different. Shannon’s Highlights Visiting Off Beat Farm in Cow Bay. This technically happened outside of the […]

Farming Conferences: Part 2


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A couple seasons ago, some real great farmers, Dan and Emily from Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm in Quebec were visiting and we were talking about ideas for conference speakers for the ACORN conference. Dan mentioned a farmer friend, Jean-Martin who was writing a book sharing secrets from the success on the farm he runs with his partner Maude-Helene (called Les Jardins de la Grelinette), whom I had never heard of. ACORN brought Jean-Martin in to speak at the 2012 conference and he definitely wowed the crowd (you can find notes from his presentations here). And he wowed me too. I strongly […]

Market Gardener: The Book