Business Mentorship Network – Rachael & Dane, Paradise Valley Produce

Posted by Kristen Nammour on April 11, 2017

New Farmers Dane and Rachael's Farm Land

Name? Rachael and Dane Sherstad

Where do you farm? Paradise Valley Produce, Powell River, BC

What do you farm? At this point buttercup… but hopefully delicious mixed veggies coming soon!

What type of business structure is your farm? Partnership

What is your land tenure? We purchased this land last summer and made the move to the Sunshine Coast in November.  Endless thanks to the most supportive family ever for making this possible!

How did you seriously get into farming? Farming is a new adventure for both of us as we transition from backgrounds in outdoor education/guiding.  We both feel as if we are in the early part of a multi-decade learning process and (most of the time) enjoy learning on a daily basis.  Dane was a participant in the Sustainable Agriculture Practicum at the UBC Farm in 2016 and is thankful for the teaching and experience offered by all the wonderful people involved in that program.  It has provided us an excellent foundation to build upon.

Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? We have so much to learn!  And having the encouragement of a supportive, kind, and knowledgeable farmer is absolutely amazing.  We are truly taken aback by the generosity of so many that make this program possible – thank you!

Farmers Rachael and Dane in dirty jumpers standing in front of freshly plowed field at Paradise Valley Produce

What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? The upfront expenses to get started farming are pretty intimidating… but at least… well I guess there’s not much of a flipside here.  Just a lot of investment!

What are your business goals for the season? Being new to farming and new on this land we are not looking to get rich anytime soon.  ‘Building’ seems to be the prevailing theme of our goals – building soil, relationships with customers & community, farm infrastructure, etc. 

What business tools could you not live without? Just the basics thus far – computer, internet and phone.  We’re starting to get to know Wave Apps for bookkeeping and that seems promising to help us manage new business chaos .

If you had a farming super power what would it be?
Rachael – insta weed management (finger snap powered, of course)
Dane – about 5 hours bonus daylight everyday

What is your favourite farm book?
Rachael – The Lean Farm
Dane – The New Organic Grower

How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products? We’re not on the interwebs quite yet! Look for our Facebook page soon and in the meantime, good ol’ email at info.paradisevalleyproduce@gmail.com

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.

Seedlings are started in trays inside the farm house at Paradise Valley Produce

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