Heather Ramsay is a young farmer and business partner at Uminami Farm in Metchosin. She wants you to know: “Uminami Farm isn’t just me…it’s owned and co-run by Yoshiko Unno (the boss :-). We also have three employees (one currently on maternity leave) and a host of volunteers, who are all integral members of the farm family. “
Heather is learning a lot about machinery maintenance at Uminami, and she’ll be sharing her skills and expertise with us at the October 26 Gathering in the Greenhouse at Uminami Farm!
We love this farmer profile format created by the National Farmers’ Union! Check out more inspiring farmer profiles at their blog.
Name: Heather Ramsay
Age: early thirties
Farm name: Uminami Farm
Location: Metchosin, BC
What do you produce? vegetable
Size of farm? the property is 10 acres, about 3.5 is undercultivation
Number of years farming? This is my fifth year. I was an apprentice for four years and business partner as of this year. Traditionally, a Japanese apprenticeship is five years, so it kind of fits.
Farming background? None prior to Uminami. I went through the agroecology program at UBC, which was great but didn’t involve practical farming experience. I have some previous experience gardening, composting, and raising rabbits at home, and 2 years working in an ornamental plant nursery. My highschool had an agriculture elective for grades 9-11, which I took, and I did my highschool work experience at a goat farm in Matsqui.
How do you market your product? box program, Moss Street Market, Tetoto food cart, Uchida Eatery, sometimes Share Organics, Tama Organic Life or other wholesale options
How’d you come up with your
What do you want your farm/farming career to look like in 20 years? I hope Uminami Farm will still be going strong in 20 years. But whether it is or not, I hope I can continue farming in a way that is resilient to life’s changing seasons, as well as the the vagaries of climate and market demand.
Who are your farming mentors? Yoshiko and Tom have been great mentors. Yoshiko has taught me so much about vegetable production, marketing, and a host of other farm things. Sadly, Tom passed away a year after I started, but the greenhouses and other work he left behind keep on teaching me. My neighbour, Peter Hammond, has also been an important mentor for all things mechanical and more. Recently Billy Metcalfe has also been instrumental in helping me become more proficient in maintaining and repairing farm equipment. These last two are particularly important since I’ve basically inherited Tom’s role after his passing, which means being the farm handy-person: using machinery, doing mechanical maintenance/repair work, light carpentry, electrical stuff and so on–a steep learning curve.
What book changed your world?
What song are you loving
Favourite farm tool? Currently
For the next farming season, what are you most
Dream dinner: what’s on your
What issue is most on your
Farm fashion: What’s hot on
What advice do you have for
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate.