Names? Alyssa Belter & David Tanner
Where do you farm? Plenty Wild Farms, Pemberton, B.C.
What do you farm? Currently our focus is on growing a wide variety of certified organic vegetables. We also raise a small number of weaner pigs each year and have started a flock of sheep.
What type of business structure is your farm? Corporation
What is your land tenure? Are there special relationships that allow for this? We own our land, or at least owe the bank for most it.
How did you seriously get into farming?
David: After an apprenticeship with Cropthorne Farm I knew farming was for me – after one more apprenticeship Alyssa and I started Plenty Wild Farms.
Alyssa: I was working as a cheese-maker when David and I started Plenty Wild Farms. Initially, I wasn’t really involved with any of the farming – although I did the record-keeping and helped out at the occasional market.
When we moved to Pemberton I agreed to help David with the farm work, but only for one season. I ended up loving it.
Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? We’ve talked about opening our own dairy and “cheesiry” for many years now but have never set aside the time to write a business plan. We approached Chris Bodnar, who we greatly admire, and asked if he would help us navigate this process. He recommended we apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network and here we are.
What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? Finding capital for new projects.
What are your business goals for the season? To develop two business plans (one for a livestock/dairy operation and the other for a cheese-making operation) to see if either would be viable and at what scale.
What business tools could you not live without?
David: Our walk-behind tractor and truck.
Alyssa: Our computer, Excel spreadsheets and, most recently, QuickBooks Online.
If you had a farming superpower what would it be?
Alyssa: Stopping the wind with expletives.
What is your favourite farm book?
David: Anything by James Herriot.
Alyssa: Going solely by the number of dog-eared pages per book it looks like a tie between Wendell Berry’s Bringing It to the Table and Gene Logsdon’s Living at Nature’s Pace.
How can we find out more about you, your farm and its products?
Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Salt Spring Coffee, Vancity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.