Eva Rehak is the 32-year-old co-owner of Alva Farm with her partner Alain Rousselle, located in Saint-Maurice, New Brunswick. For the past 5 years they have been cultivating mixed organic vegetables and fruits on 1,5 acres for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and farmer’s market. She acted as women advisor for the National Farmers Union (NFU) in NB and represented the NFU Youth at La Via Campesina’s 6th Global Conference in 2013.
I grew up in Mississauga with no background in farming, but always had an interest in nature. I went to the University of Guelph graduated as an agricultural technician. I worked on a CSA farm in southern Quebec and decided that I wanted to own a CSA farm. I went with my partner to Alberta to work and save money so we could buy land.
In 2009 we purchased some old Acadian farmland and started our CSA program. In our first year we had 15 shares and one market. This year we had 60 shares and one market where we’ve become a reference for local and certified organic produce.
The President of the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick (NFU-NB) contacted me and asked me to become the women’s director for NB. I wanted to get involved in helping farmers so I accepted. I then went to Saskatoon for their annual convention and I was introduced to the NFU’s International Programs Committee (IPC). I joined IPC calls and learned about La Via Campesina.
Being a mother of three young children, I quickly saw how difficult raising kids and basically, raising a farm was for us. I later learned that in our province there was a program that existed to help parents pay for childcare but that business owners were not eligible. That’s when I found my mission. I wanted to change the eligibility of women who are co-owners of a business to be able to have childcare assistance. The government listened and they modified their law, I am very proud of that.
Both the NFU in Canada and LVC in the world are voices of family farms in this vast world of ours. The fact that LVC is invited to international events means that we are still able to make a difference. Meeting many likeminded farmers from across the world at the 6th Global Conference, knowing that I’m not alone fired my passion and re-fueled me to continue in the path that I had chosen which is farming. We will not let ourselves be defeated, together we are not small.