Monday, March 19, 2012

Growing your food this year at Watershed Farm!

One of the tenets of the local food movement is "know your farmer".  So, I thought I'd introduce our crew at Watershed Farm, growing your food for the 2012 season.

Owner: Camelia Frieberg
Farm Managers: Jon Jenkins, Teri Dillon
Apprentices, full time: Lisa and Thomas
Part-time Apprentice: Melissa
Plus WWOOFers and lots of other helpers!

In the next couple of posts, each of us will individually let you know how we ended up at Watershed Farm and some of the things we are looking forward to this year!

   Jon and I are joining Watershed Farm this year from Calgary, Alberta, where we managed a retail organic produce company.  Tired of the city life, we started exploring options for farming around Alberta, and were unable to find anything that matched our criteria.  Alberta's climate is too limiting, BC is oversaturated and land is expensive, Manitoba is too land-locked for Jon's PEI roots.  We did a search on a green job site and found an ad for Farm Manager for Watershed Farm, and quickly realized that everything about the job (and Nova Scotia!) matched what we were looking for.  We simply didn't have the capital to invest in land, and needed somewhere with infrastructure, established markets and someone willing to give us a chance, as well as a beautiful place to start our lives together.
     I got into farming when my Mom started a market garden business about 12 years ago.  Until then, I had been raised in a farming community but had grown up in the city and had no real idea of where food comes from. Watching things grow and learning about the process immediately became a passion for me. We learned as we went and grew a variety of vegetables in Manitoba’s relatively short growing climate. I discovered a talent for marketing at the local farmer’s market where we sold our produce and some baking.
     In 2004 I moved to Calgary to attend University, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Sociology and no more of a clue about what I wanted to do with my life than when I started!  I started managing at an organic produce stall at the Calgary Farmer's Market, a job that very quickly led to tons of great experience in managing all aspects of a growing business.  The work I did at that company was foundational and invaluable, but I still found something was missing.  As I moved up the corporate ladder, I got further and further away from my passion of growing vegetables.  Shortly after Jon and I started dating we realized how important growing food was to both of us, and we knew that we had no choice but to farm in 2012.
    After a few phone calls, a very brief visit in December, and lots of emails, we joined the team at Watershed Farm, and 2 months later headed across the country with our car loaded to the rafters and my 2 pet bunnies along for the ride.  Since we've arrived, we've gotten settled and have been learning all of the duties of the farm, as well as making maple syrup, crop planning and planting, and gearing up for a busy year. This year I am looking forward to being around things that are growing, and working as a team to get all the work done, and learning more about taking care of animals, and helping streamline our farm into the most successful and sustainable farming model possible on this beautiful piece of land.  And spending days off near the ocean!

"Meet your Farmer" profiles to come from Jon, Lisa, Thomas, and Camelia soon!


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