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a Farmer Poetry Contest. Five winning poems were selected by a panel of professional writers and poets, to wrap up the 4th annual Farmers Appreciation Week in BC from September 8th -15th, 2013.

The award for best overall poem was given to Jil- lian Merrick for her poem 365 Farmers. Jillian Mer- rick lives in Prince George where she coordinates the Beyond the Market program at Community Futures Fraser Fort George, a collaborative project designed to build, strengthen, and diversify the agricultural in- dustry in BC’s North.

The fifth annual Farmers Appreciation Week (FAW) will be held September 8th - 15th, 2014. The event raises public awareness of the important contribution to life in BC made by local farmers.

Best Overall Poem

365 Farmers By Jillian Merrick

J is for January. A joyous month. A new year. Wood burning. Wildlife in the fields. Peace and calm as the days grow long.

F is for February. A frigid month. A month cut short because even the coldest of days cannot ward off the whispers of life found in the pages of seed catalogues.

M is for March. A month of momentum. What starts as creaks and cracks in the old farmers’ backs, grows to a steady hum.

A is for April. A month of accomplishments. Seeds are sown, fences are fixed, and farmers stand fierce against the spring floods.

M is for May. A maternal month. Slippery calves in warm stalls, safe from spring chill. Seeds like students, lined in rows, ready to grow.

Ode to a Farmer T

his fall, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets announced the winners of its first ever Ode to

Poetry Contest Winners Have Unique Connections to BC Agriculture Sector By Georgia Stanley

Young people show appreciation for farmers at the Penticton Farmers Market in celebration of Farmers Appreciation Week. Credit: Denise Blashko

J is for June. A jolly month. Market doors open and smiles are aplenty. Small babes on four legs frolic in fields, joyful and consumed by the moment.

J is for July. A jealous month. Schools and offices dim their lights, and families cruise the highways in search of sunny lakeside serenity, but the farmer’s toil con- tinues.

A is for August. An arduous month. Fields as far as the eye can see are cut, cured and curled up into bales. Swift hands harvest endlessly. The auction bell rings in the distance.

S is for September. A stockpiling month. Time to count your chips. Did the gamble pay off? Can hearts and spades compete in a world obsessed with diamonds?

O is for October. An organic month. Earthly decay fills the air as life recedes to the soil. Life is sacrificed for feast, and meat for many meals fills the freezer. Death completes the circle.

N if for November. A neighbourly month. Work is packed away. Farmers gather for annual reflection and reconnection. Mark your calendars.

D is for December. A month deep in dreams. Long dark nights give the gift of sleep. With fields tucked safely under blankets of snow, farmers find peace un- der blankets in bed.

BC Organic Grower, Volume 17, Number 1, Winter 2014 Page 27

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