Names? Tristan Cavers, Michelle Tsutsumi, Kelsey Snelgrove, Paul Matheson, Annelise Grube-Cavers
Where do you farm? Chase, BC
What do you farm? Mixed vegetables from A to Z, with the historical staple crops being sweet corn and strawberries. We also raise animals for our own meat and dairy needs, in addition to selling eggs and pork.
What type of business structure is your farm? It has been an informal co-operative for several years in terms of the operations of the business. Technically speaking, it is a sole proprietorship and we are aiming to clarify how to formalize the co-operative over this mentorship period.
What is your land tenure? We are on family land belonging to Tristan’s and Annelise’s mother, Anne. We are working on coming up with an agreement to transition the land in a way that meets Anne’s needs while also facilitating the continuation of farming for generations to come.
Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? It felt like we were spinning our wheels finding a business/co-operative model that fit well with us in terms of values and that would also work practically speaking. It has also been a challenge to sort out the planning and operations of the farm to earn an income (e.g., labour requirements, bookkeeping knowledge and skills, crop planning and harvest schedules).
What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? The greatest business challenge has been a lack of bookkeeping knowledge and how to interpret financial information to keep on track.
What are your business goals for the season? Continue to expand sales so that we can support ourselves with farm income and only need to do off-farm work if we want to, not because it is necessary. Another goal is to be able to have several paid staff to have a smooth-running, profitable farm operation.
What business tools could you not live without? Bookkeeping software because using Excel efficiently was not possible with the knowledge and skill set presently on the farm.
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.