Dan Kretschmar is a young farmer and member of the National Farmers Union. Dan attended the Young Agrarians Vancouver Island Mixer in March 2014. Dan is organizing the first Young Agrarians Mixer in Ontario October 18-19th! The mixer will feature a day-long workshop with rockstar, six-figure, small-lot farmer Jean-Martin Fortier.
Name: Dan Kretschmar
Farm name: Grenville Farms
Location: Severn Bridge (Muskoka), Ontario
What do you produce? Organic Vegetables
Size of farm? 190 Acres
Number of years farming? 15 years give or take a few
Farming background? I spent the first 18 years of my life on my family farm. I grew up around sheep and cows, as well as growing vegetables. My mother was one of the first people to go back to the traditional organic ways of growing vegetables. She introduced me to Elliot Coleman’s books at a young age. I started working out in the fields when I was about 8 years old. I spent the majority of my teenage years reluctantly working on the farm. I always thought that I was losing time with friends because I had to work on the farm. Needless to say, that did not make me a happy camper. When I graduated highschool I left the farm as soon as I could to go to college and university. I spent 8 seasons away from the farm. After finally finishing institutional education and working at remedial jobs, never getting a full time position in any job of choice (which was teaching), I began to realize that it may never happen.
There were a lot of emotionally charged changes in my life in 2012 one of which was my experience at the NFU annual convention in Saskatoon. All the hype about 2012 being the end of the world was true in a sense to me. It was the end of one world (life) for me and a complete transformation back to the family farm. The last 2 years have been very exciting and difficult at the same time. Change is always difficult, but the benefits outweighed the negatives in this situation for me.
I have big plans for the farm now that I have a vested interest in it. I want to continue along the same lines, but new youthful ideas need to be incorporated into the farm. The dinosaur models need to be tweaked in some areas. I also have plans to have an education center/farm school on the farm in the future.
How do you market your product? The market for the product has been established and growing as fast as the demand for local food for 35 years. My parents bought the farm all those years ago because they did not like what they saw happening to the food system. Currently the produce is all direct marketed to resorts, restaurants, private chefs, retailers and one farmers market per week. I want to continue with this but move into a CSA model as well which I plan on starting next season.
How’d you come up with your
What do you want your farm/farming career to look like in 20 years? Only time will tell but current plans for the future involve starting a farm school/education center. I will still be farming in 20 years and becoming ever more self sufficient and enjoying my farming freedom.
Who are your farming mentors?
Jean Martin Fortier, Eliot Coleman, Joel Salatin, Dianne Kretschmar
What book changed your world? John Taylor Gatto – “Dumbing us Down” – I read this book in the fall of 2012 shortly after returning to supply teaching for the school board. The book had a profound and life changing impact on me. It was reading this book that started the chain of events that lead me to where I am today. The book was actually an 18th birthday present… figures it took me 10 years to appreciate it.
What song are you loving
Favourite farm tool? My fast hands and feet because without them jobs would take a lot longer to complete. You would also not be able to make fast use of the half moon hoe. You need fast moving hands to be successful at market gardening and the ability to move fast. Since the weather controls your most every move on the farm, when its crunch time you better move fast or you will be squashed.
For this upcoming season,
Why did you join the
Dream dinner: what’s on your
My guests would include the cast of the NFU youth, Jean Martin Fortier, close friends and family, a wine maker, a cheese maker, and a guitar player.
What issue is most on your
Farm fashion: What’s hot on
What advice do you have for
What’s your guilty pleasure? Pizza