YA Business Mentorship Network – Quality Harvests

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 29, 2023 2 Comments

Young Agrarians is celebrating the ninth year of the Business Mentorship Network (BMN) program in BC and the expansion of the program across the Prairies! The BMN offers business mentorships  to a diverse array of new and young farmers. Through one-on-one mentorship, peer networks and online workshops young farmers develop the skills necessary to operate ecologically sustainable and financially viable farm businesses.

YA business mentorships have helped over a 100+ farmers to generate more revenues, grow more food and put more land into production. Immediate results have led to on average of 64% more farm revenue, a 72% increase in food produced, and a 48% increase in land under production. We are thrilled to bring the stories of  these farmers to you for inspiration!

Applications open for Mentees across Western Canada in October 2023.

Mentor applications are accepted year round.

Check out the program page on our website for more information!

My name is David Slaman of Quality Harvests and my mentor is Andrew Adams of Hope Farm Organics.

Where do you farm?

Just outside Smithers BC, on unceded wet’suwet’in territory.

What inspired you to get into farming?

I’ve always loved both the type or work and the work atmosphere, and it seemed like the best possible thing I could do with my life to help create a better world.

How did you learn how to farm?

My grandfather started a farm business that is still successfully operating in the family today, so I had the benefit of learning lots working there over the years. I’ve also traveled the world working on various farms on many stop along the way. I’ve also tried to gather information through books and video to help make sense of modern market gardening.

What type of business structure is your farm, how much land is under production and what are you producing?

I operate as a sole proprietorship on approximately half an acre. I am producing vegetables, edible flowers and herbs.

What types of ecological farm practices and/or responses to climate change realities do you engage in?

We are trying to farm ecologically and follow organic processes. We grow in permanent raised beds to reduce tillage and keep the ground covered as much as possible with growing plants and cover crops or mulches to protect and build soil and conserve water.  We are also using compost teas and IMOs (indigenous micro organisms) to encourage microbiological activity.

What is your land tenure?

We are leasing land from an incredible woman who we met through B.C. Land Matching Program.

Why did you apply for business mentorship?

I applied for mentorship to explore the many aspects of market gardening that are often a little unclear. I appreciate the opportunity to engage in a scheduled and specific dialogue with an experienced farmer who has confronted most of the same aspects and has a more sophisticated knowledge and background from which to approach relevant questions and challenges.

What is the greatest business challenge you face as a new farmer?

Aside from land access, ownership, and security, the greatest business challenge is doing so many things at once (growing, operations, marketing, financial planning, administration, sales) with minimal assistance, guidance or support.

What is your primary business goal for the season?

My primary goal this season is to pay off our current investments into the business, earn enough to have more funds available for future investment and preferably even pay ourselves a modest amount for our labour.

What business tools could you not live without?


If you had a farming robot what would it be?


How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products?

Instagram – quality.harvests or email qualityharvestshq@gmail.com

This program is made possible with the generous funding support of Vancity, Endswell Foundation and Columbia Basin Trust.

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