A lot has happened since I last updated this blog, but I’ve had some time to reflect and thought I’d share a few brief thoughts.
The autumn of 2018 saw the last season of commercial production for Kolapore Gardens. After a lot of soul searching I made the decision to close down operations of the farm. I am incredibly grateful for the experiences and friendships made and look back on my memories of that magical land and time with fondness.
As I finished up my CSA commitments to an amazing community, I started the process of posting and selling things – a lot of things… including greenhouses, my tractor, and a lot of equipment. I’ve found a little solace in the fact that I helped support a small group of growers & farmers throughout Ontario looking to get a foothold, or strengthen their approach in farming.
And so I moved, leaving the crevassed forests of Kolapore for the world’s longest freshwater beach. The land at Kolapore Gardens supported and nurtured me unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I was ready for the waves of Wasaga Beach to wash over me for my next chapter. In Wasaga I took a position managing teams of cannabis growers at a fairly large cannabis facility. It was a pretty amazing experience and one of the best parts was definitely the people I got to work with. Among my notable memories from that place was the amazing opportunity I had to manage a team of 13 migrant workers from Mexico (while acting as their unofficial liaison to Canada). Their generosity of spirit, willingness to help me improve my Spanish, and ability to overlook my total lack of understanding for how to conjugate phrases in the past or future tense in the Spanish language was amazingly fun and meaningful.
After a short stint in Wasaga, which helped fill my soul through reconnecting with amazing friends who lived nearby, recharging on the beautiful beach, and generally throwing myself into my work, I started to look for a new home – somewhere I could set root.
Farming and land access are deeply related and it points at a pretty glaring barrier for many young and new farmers – long-term access to land is not within the budget of most new farmers, unless they have generous support. This was one of the reasons I was initially so keen to set up a farm on crown-land I did not own – it allowed me a foothold in a world that has quite a few barriers to entry for newcomers. Access to land for young and new farmers is a key issue directly related to the sustainability of our food systems, rural communities, environment. Our communities ability to weather challenging social times, be they brought on by climate disaster, social unrest, or some sort of combination of the two, will partly rely on a strong, adaptable and robust local food movement.
I started to look for land, and with the help of an excellent realtor (I’ll happily recommend!) and some arm-twisting to get him to arrange a visit to a little property that had been nagging on my mind (“if only to rule it out,” I remember saying) I eventually found myself faced with the task of signing a dotted line, picking up keys, and then completely gutting my new home in Grey Highlands.
And so that pretty much brings me to where I am today. There are still lots of unfinished tasks to take care of around the house, but it’s comfortable enough that I’m able to focus my attention on slowly and mindfully setting up the necessary infrastructure on my new farm (ok, its a very small farm, but it comes down to what you do with it, not how it looks – right?)
It has been a full and rich few years since harvesting my last carrots, salad greens spinach and kale at the old farm – a period of time that has been punctuated by a lot of pain, joy, grief, sorrow and laughter. To say the least, I’ve been pretty busy!
My new home is lined with mature trees, who’s presence imbue a strong sense of calm and remind me of the variety of organisms they provide habitat for. It is my intention to listen to the land here, and these trees, and let them guide me towards crafting my new farm – to work in partnership with the natural world. From this intent, the name Tree Song Farm came to fruition.
Fittingly, the natural habitat of Tree Song has been steadily growing in complexity and volume – thanks in part to being the current home site of a dear friend of mine’s native plant nursery – Lacewing Plants & Seedlings.
Lacewing Plants and Seedlings offers a staggering collection of plants that are native to this region and which also provide food and habitat for pollinator species – the ones that help keep this whole web of interconnected life cohesive and content. I have been honoured and humbled by the work my friend Pauline has put into curating such an amazing mix of plants. These plants are being grown to be planted and so anyone looking to improve the botanical and floral diversity of their home, expand the capacity of their garden as habitat, or create a little oasis of refuge for long-migrating butterflies – please check out lacewing’s offerings by following this link to www.lacewing.ca.
In short (wait, that wasn’t really short at all!) I wanted to say hi, give a brief update on what I’ve been up to, and make sure y’all have heard about Lacewing Plants, because they have a final fall push on right now for the autumn planting season.
Thanks for reading. Keep your eyes peeled for periodic updates from Tree Song Farm, and don’t forget to vote in your upcoming municipal election!