We’re checking back in with our B.C. Business Mentorship Network participants to see how their seasons have gone and how mentorship has benefitted them.
We are Elana and Maddy from City Beet Farm in Vancouver. Our goals for the 2017 season were to pay off the farm that we bought in 2016 and run our first ever successful, 60 member CSA program. We both committed entirely to making those goals a reality. We sacrificed paying ourselves and working full time on the farm in order to breakeven and not incur any debt. Long days, focus, dedication, a little help from friends and our community all worked in our favour in order to succeed.
We feel like we met our financial and food production goals for the season, however, we definitely could have done better on the self-care side of things. By the end of the season, although we were proud of what we’d accomplished were sorely burnt-out and in need of a break. This is something we want to work on and prioritize next year.
We focused this year on our CSA as a sales outlet. Next year we plan to expand the cut flower project we started and further build our relationship with a local café/grocer.
Our model is unique because we grow all our veggies on front and backyards in the neighbourhood where many of our CSA members live. People are able to walk by the spaces where their food is growing and can have a relationship with us, as their
The Young Agrarians mentorship gave us the financial skills to be able to stay afloat in our first year. We are tremendously grateful for the input and advice that we were given by our mentors as well as the support and feedback that Kristen provided. Through the program we learned about the Vancity Small Growers Fund and the interest rebate program from Farm Folk City Folk. This program gave us the cash flow to plan and
invest in ourselves over the next 3 years.
Our mentors gave us the perspective that things always work out. They encouraged us to chill-out when we were stressed and gave us ideas for ways to adapt and be dynamic when things weren’t meeting our expectations.
We definitely learned our constraints as an urban farm operation. There are some crops, that while we would love to grow them, just don’t make sense in our model. We feel happy, proud about the season and are looking forward to doing things even better next year. We don’t have any plans to expand in terms of the number of members we take on. We would like to grow more produce for our members and work on expanding our flower project.
We are looking forward to resting our bodies this winter, rejuvenating ourselves and not having a daily, dirt uni-brow!
2015, 2016, & 2017 Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Vancity, Salt Spring Coffee, Rotary Hastings Sunrise, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada & the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.