Blog Category: Essays and Opinions

Employees wanted: Hiring that special 1.3% of the population

Posted by Andrew Adams on January 26, 2023

 As it’s January and we are finalizing crop plans and looking at our labour needs on our farm for the season and I thought I would share thoughts and tips for your labour needs on  your farm.  We’ve yet to enter the age of the jetsons, though we are getting closer every day. Until that day comes when automation and robots do most physical labour, the human power component of a farm is integral to its success.    I’d rather see the human component in agriculture continue and only become better in terms of conditions and wages. Each step we take … Continue reading Employees wanted: Hiring that special 1.3% of the population

Aiming for the stars within: Setting goals and benchmarks on the farm

Posted by Andrew Adams on January 18, 2023

Creating a trajectory for achieving a personal/farm business goal feels like what I imagine Mario feels like when he attains a “star” in the OG Mario Brothers game for Nintendo. You are bright, flashing with energy and moving quickly while avoiding obstacles and tactically knocking over Koopa troopas and Goombas (risk) in pursuit of your raised flag pole. It’s exhilarating. As we begin a new turn around the sun, many folks have set their new year resolutions – and if you are a farmer, you have likely analyzed last year’s data and begun crop planning for the upcoming season. Creating … Continue reading Aiming for the stars within: Setting goals and benchmarks on the farm

Below the snow: What plants can tell us when we can’t see the soil

Posted by Andrew Adams on December 16, 2022

Sitting there at your computer desk, easy chair or couch, dreaming of starting your own farm in the depths of winter? Let me share some tips and tricks, which you can use when you find that dream property covered in snow and want to know what’s below. Sometimes winter is the only time of the year when there is time to go exploring land. When you live in a region that has snow for six months or longer, you can’t let the snow keep you from walking over potential properties for your farming adventure less they get gobbled up before … Continue reading Below the snow: What plants can tell us when we can’t see the soil

Reflections from the YA Apprenticeship Program – Josephine Junas-Grant

Posted by Kolby Peterson on March 01, 2022

Josephine Junas-Grant apprenticed at The Homestead in Goodfare, Alberta. One year turned into two, and Jo started her own floral enterprise. She shares her experience through an original song, accompanied by Pebbles the dog and melodic background munching by goats. Josephine is now living and farming with Maryann Borch at Good Note Community Farm, near Leduc, Alberta. Lyrics are below. I arrived in early spring time When the ground was bare Worked each inch of soil Planting seeds with care … Rained through the month of June Drenched us to the bone Trudging through the morning chores While kicking at … Continue reading Reflections from the YA Apprenticeship Program – Josephine Junas-Grant

How This Farmer Brought Back the Meadowlark: Using Regenerative Practices to Restore Farm Ecosystems

Posted by Alex on February 24, 2022

Don and Marie Ruzicka recently retired after more than 35 years of farming. During their time at Sunrise Farm in central-eastern Alberta on Treaty 6 land, they transitioned from conventional to regenerative farming by altering their farming practices, protecting riparian areas, planting trees, and restoring grasslands. In the process, they witnessed incredible changes in the ecology of their farm. Don shares the story of how they used regenerative practices to restore their farm ecosystems. EARLY DAYS It would be a mistake to suggest that my wife Marie and I began farming with the knowledge of how the importance of the … Continue reading How This Farmer Brought Back the Meadowlark: Using Regenerative Practices to Restore Farm Ecosystems

Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Kaitlyn Busson

Posted by Kolby Peterson on February 03, 2022

Kaitlyn was a 2022 apprentice at The Homestead, in Goodfare AB. She shares these wise words. Dear Future Me, I hope you are working your butt off from sun up to sun down making nutritious food with beautiful people, and if not don’t give up now. Whether you found yourself a handsome dairy or potato farmer in Nova Scotia, or you’re still raising cattle in the Peace Country, I hope you have remembered as much as possible from that summer. Make sure everything is fed and watered, and don’t forget to give the chickens grit. Don’t forget to water the … Continue reading Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Kaitlyn Busson

Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Katia Arcarese

Posted by Kolby Peterson on January 30, 2022

Katia was a 2021 Apprentice at The Homestead. Or should I say, IS! She wins the award for the longest farm stay. Make sure you stay tuned until the end, Katia has captured some of her experience at The Homestead in beautiful oil paintings. Here’s a sneak peak: If you wonder what being a vegetable farmer is like, especially when snow begins to fly, Katia shares her experience: We were wrapping things up in the garden by harvesting the potatoes and carrots. Due to a late warm fall, we were able to keep them in the garden a bit longer … Continue reading Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Katia Arcarese

Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Hannah Gelderman

Posted by Kolby Peterson on January 26, 2022

Hannah Gelderman was a 2021 Apprentice at Sundog Organic Farm! In this beautiful farm log, she shares her experience growing nearly every vegetable under the moon, as well as her thoughts and struggles with finding her role and responsibility within climate and social justice. You can follow along with Hannah’s work on Instagram, @hannahgelderman, and on her webpage: hannahgelderman.com If you want to read through Hannah’s project at a higher resolution you can do so here. Without further ado… Find Hannah’s animation playing on the banner of the Young Agrarians homepage! And here on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/642174916 Interested in being an apprentice … Continue reading Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Hannah Gelderman

Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Andrew Kozak

Posted by Kolby Peterson on January 21, 2022

Big City to Farm, and Back Again by Andrew Kozak In the summer of 2020, I was sitting locked down at home, in Canada’s largest urban centre and the city I grew up in, Toronto. The city life is far removed from the vast fields of our rural compatriots. At this time, the streets lay empty and quiet for months, and the fatigue was starting to set in. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree and I was waiting to put my hands to good use when I looked closely at them. They were soft, clean, “city slicker” hands. My … Continue reading Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program – Andrew Kozak

Growing the Next Generation of Farmers – Policy Recommendations

Posted by Darcy Smith on August 20, 2021

Young Agrarians launched in 2012 as an educational farmer-to-farmer resource network. Now in year 10, we’ve connected with thousands of farmers across Canada online, at events, through our land access, business development, and apprenticeship programs, and through farmer consultation and advisories. The federal, provincial, and territorial governments fund agriculture through 5-year agreements – many of you will have heard of Growing Forward 1 and 2, and the current funding agreement, the Canadian Agriculture Partnership. Negotiations are currently under way for the Next Policy Framework, which will determine what programs and funding are available to farmers starting in 2023. There is … Continue reading Growing the Next Generation of Farmers – Policy Recommendations