Name? Kailli Pigott and Zach Johnston
Where do you farm? Dancing Dandelion Farm is located in Duncan, BC in the lovely Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
What do you farm? Mixed vegetables and cut flowers.
What type of business structure is your farm? We are a sole proprietorship.
What is your land tenure? We own the land we farm on and purchased the property at the end of August 2016. Previously the property was run as a tree and shrub nursery.
How did you seriously get into farming? A series of pathways led us to farming. For Kailli it began with her love of botany and university studies in plant biology. Growing up on a farm in the Okanagan Valley she had a desire to move out of the city and back to the country. For Zach, he wanted to create a lifestyle where he could work outside in nature daily and pursue his passion for creating access to nutrient dense organic produce. Dancing Dandelion Farm is the realization of all of this energy and passion for changing our food system.
Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? We knew that jumping into our first year of farming on our own would be a very challenging year. We felt that having the support of someone experienced to inspire us, provide us with their knowledge and poke flaws in our plans would be a vital part of our success. So far the program has more than exceeded our expectations.
What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? Financial support is definitely a big challenge as acquiring land and the equipment needed for farming can be quite costly. Learning about crop planning, sales forecasts, bookkeeping, accounting and how they’re all interrelated is a key aspect of being able to stay on track financially.
What are your business goals for the season? Attend one farmer’s market a week, sell directly from our farm every Sunday, and install a walk-in cooler and irrigation systems. We are also working to get to know our community to help us understand what they are most interested in purchasing from us.
What business tools could you not live without? Accounting software, such as Quickbooks. While it is a bit of a cost, it is definitely helping to keep everything organized. We also use Excel spreadsheets for crop planning and organizing our greenhouse and harvesting schedules.
If you had a farming super power what would it be? Building deer fences in the snow.
What is your favourite farm book? Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm by Darryll Frey
How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products?
2015, 2016, & 2017 Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Vancity, Salt Spring Coffee, Rotary Hastings Sunrise, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.