Business Mentorship Network – Brianna van de Wijngaard

Posted by Kristen Nammour on February 16, 2015

Name? Brianna van de Wijngaard

Where do you farm? Williams Lake, BC

What do you farm? Approx. 25 different vegetable crops on multiple urban plots.

What type of business structure is your farm? Sole proprietorship.

What is your land tenure? Lease-based; It’s all independent: I draft and sign a MOU with each landowner. Currently, they are renewed annually and compensated with weekly produce deliveries.

How did you seriously get into farming? I did a few farm-stays after university, in 2011. After reading the SPIN farming guides, I decided I could do it on my own.

Puddle Produce Williams Lake Farmers Market

Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? After 2 seasons operating my own urban farming business, I knew there were weaknesses, and that I could be more efficient. I wanted to narrow down what those were so that I can expand in the future and increase revenue.

What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? Figuring out how to generate enough income from farming so I can quit my day job(s)! I still need to narrow down which crops do the best here, but also make enough money (ie: some crops sell well, but don’t make much, and vice versa). On the back end, I need to pin down planting, harvesting, processing, and record-keeping techniques that work the best for me, and are most efficient, so I can scale up as much as possible with the resources I have, or know when to expand (ie: hire staff)

What are your business goals for the season? An early-season CSA program, and building restaurant sales.

Puddle Produce Williams Lake Community

What business tools could you not live without? The Williams Lake community! They have done so much promotion on my behalf, and have supported me since day one.

If you had a farming super power what would it be? The ability to get up at 5am without being grumpy. Currently, this is not possible.

What is your favourite farm book? Steve Soloman’s Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: no longer applicable to my growing climate, but it’s a pretty hilarious read 🙂

How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products?
TW: @PuddleProduce
Small Town Love:

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. 

Puddle Produce Williams Lake Urban Farming