B.C. Business Mentorship Network – Still Wild Gardens and Design

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 02, 2020

Young Agrarians is celebrating the sixth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program. The BMN offers business mentorships  to a diverse array of new and young farmers across BC. Through one-on-one mentorship and peer networks, young farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses. We love to profile our program participants and celebrate their efforts!

One of two flower farms in this year’s cohort is Still Wild Gardens and Design on Vancouver Island with Mentors Kristen Nammour from Quadra Island and Amie Bengtson from Back Country Blooms in Lumby, BC.

 Where do you farm?

On leased land in Saanich, Vancouver Island, BC.

 What do you farm?

Specialty Cut Flowers.

What inspired you to get into farming?

My tastebuds! I was originally interested in good, fresh, nutritious food and wanted to know how to grow it myself…and then a number of years ago I found flowers, or they found me and we haven’t looked back since.

Snappy snapdragons!
Snappy snapdragons!

What did you do to learn how to farm?

Worked and volunteered on many farms – the variety really helped me to understand how many ways there are to farm and different processes used throughout the growing season.

What types of ecological farm practices do you use?

I follow organic guidelines, but am not certified and have been working towards no till the past couple years.

What type of business structure is your farm?

Sole proprietorship.

How much land is under production on your farm?

Just under 1/3 of an acre. 

What is your land tenure? Are there special relationships that allow for this?

The land is leased.

Why did you apply for business mentorship?

Running a business alone can feel daunting! Having the support of a mentor and a program dedicated to helping farmers understand how to run a business seemed like the exact support system I needed to continue to expand and put the proper systems in place! 

What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer?

Learning what it takes to run a profitable business, while doing work that is often a labor of love. 

Mixed Pinks.
Mixed Pinks.

What is your primary business goal for the season?

To organize my systems on the bookkeeping and recording keeping side of things, so I can make more informed decisions as I move forward. 

What business tools could you not live without?

Well, in the past couple months, I have quickly learned that a cash flow analysis and a time management sheet are going to be two of my most important tools to use!!

If you had a farming robot what would it be?

You know, I’m not sure I would have one at all! 

How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products? (website, FB, insta, twitter handles)

Find us on Instagram as @stillwild___

This program is made possible with the generous funding support of Vancity, Province of British Columbia, and Columbia Basin Trust.