We met young farmer Layten, owner and operator of Wild Leek Meadows, a regenerative mixed vegetable micro farm in the Bulkley Nechako, through his search for farmland. Layten is a participant in the B.C. Land Matching Program, which provides land matching and business support services to new farmers looking for land to farm, as well as landholders interested in finding someone to farm their land. Visit the B.C. Land Matching Program page to learn more about the program and to find a Young Agrarians Land Matcher in your region.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your farm:
I’m Layten and I own/operate Wild Leek Meadows which is a regenerative mixed vegetable micro farm in the Bulkley Valley in Northwestern BC. It’s brand new but the future goal is to create a farm ecosystem that provides food for the community and the ecosystem around it. The high intensity/annual area is about 1/3rd acre, but over the next few years I plan to incorporate rotational animals in the future orchards around the remaining 4 acres.
How did you decide you wanted to lease land and what was your dream property?
It was a pretty easy decision as I didn’t have money for land and I was ready to start my farm. My dream property is pretty much what I have now but with a small river. A South facing sloped woodland/pasture mix with mountain views at the end of a road with no development above me. There is a great little pond so I’m more than happy with the property.
Tell us a bit about the property you are farming now?
It’s nestled up against a provincial park so it’s secluded, quiet, and has an abundance of wildlife. It has a spectacular view of Hudson Bay Mountain, and the soil is so dark and rich, I didn’t have to do much to start farming.
What was the landholder’s vision for their land and how are you helping them to achieve that?
The landholder wanted to see it put to good use and there was a European thistle infestation so just by being there working the soil and putting pressure on the thistle moved the property towards their vision.
What was your experience working with the YA Land Matcher?
The B.C. Land Matching Program was amazing to help me find such an amazing property, but also develop the lease and work out the questions I never would have thought to ask for the lease. My land matcher was great at answering all the questions I had as I didn’t have the faintest idea about leasing land.
What was the most valuable thing about the B.C. Land Matching Program for you?
I love the lease development process but I think the most valuable thing for me was just connecting me with all the available land in the area and helping me find such an amazing property.
Did you learn any lessons the hard way in your first season on the farm and what were they?
Sometimes being frugal and doing something yourself ends up costing more money, time than just getting a professional and puts much more stress on the body.
What excites you most about the future of your farm?
I’m starting to plan an apple orchard that I think will grow into a passion project of trying to collect as many varieties of apples as possible. Apples are an incredibly diverse species.
Layten is going into his second year farming on land he found land through the B.C. Land Matching Program. Another piece of advice Layten would like to add: “I think the most important thing to remember is that you’re on someone else’s land and potentially in their bubble so it’s crucial that you foster that relationship so they want you to stay. Make being there a really good thing for them and you’ll feel at ease about being welcome.”
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and farm with us, Layten! You can find Wild Leek Meadows on Instagram to follow along on the upcoming 2022 season.
Get in Touch!
Do you have land you’d like to lease to a farmer? Are you a farmer looking for land to lease? Learn more about the B.C. Land Matching Program here, or email email@example.com.
The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded in Central and Northern B.C. by the Province of British Columbia, with support from Patagonia.