YA Business Mentorship Network – Yellow Boot Farm

Posted by Melanie Buffel on March 09, 2023

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!

Hello! I’m Jaclyn Kirby, owner and operator of Yellow Boot Farm in Black Creek BC. My mentors are Robin at Sea Bluff Farm and many women farmers in the Comox Valley.
Where do you farm?
I farm on traditional K’omox First Nations land in the Comox Valley.
What do you farm?
We farm mixed veggies and some flowers for pollinators. We tried specializing in Asian greens and radishes, but the market and our clay soil put a hold on that plan. Right now we’re doing the basics with a few fun varieties mixed in.
What inspired you to get into farming?

Having children made me more aware of where our food comes from and our farming practices. I started volunteering on a local farm while on maternity leave, and just loved it! From there I got a job at a local farm for their weekend markets. When the kids were in school I was able to get a more stable office job, and hated it! So back to farming I went!

How did you learn how to farm?

I’ve volunteered on many farms, worked at every farmers market in the lower mainland, took classes and online programs to learn everything I needed. Books, YouTube, and the local farming community have also been invaluable.

What type of business structure is your farm?
We’re a sole proprietorship.
How much land is under production on your farm?
Right now we’re on half an acre, but hope to expand in year four to a full acre.
What are you producing?
We are growing veggies for our small CSA, farmers market, and the odd bulk order. We hope to expand to restaurants this year.
What types of ecological farm practices and/or responses to climate change realities do you engage in?
We are a regenerative farm, with minimal tilling and plastic use. It’s not perfect and the weeds usually take over in August, but we are always keeping the soil and insects in mind when we grow.
What is your land tenure? Are there special relationships that enabled this?  
We are leasing land from a couple of amazing retired teachers. We connected through the B.C. Land Matching Program and they helped us draft up a contract that made us all happy. We have a shared vision of a regenerative farm, where we put in more than we take out.
Why did you apply for business mentorship?
I don’t know what I don’t know! Other points of view are always welcomed and talking to an experienced person is the best way to learn.
What is the greatest business challenge you face as a new farmer?
Inflation! We had to scale back due to start up costs. I’m not ready to take on debt for land we don’t own.
What is your primary business goal for the season?
This year our goals are to figure out my work life balance and break even! Also grow great veggies so our customers come back next year.
What business tools could you not live without?
I cannot live without my Hori hori and my stick with measurements on it!
If you had a farming robot what would it be?
Obviously a robot for weeding would be amazing.
How can we find out more about you, your farm, and its products? 
You can find us at:

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