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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • APRIL 2018 Patience is a virtue embraced by farmers


There’s probably no more common saying than “hurry up and wait,” and as simplistic as it sounds, the waiting


Wannabe Farmer


by LINDA WEGNER


game seems to mark every part of farming: wait for the weather; wait for the right time to sow and to harvest; wait for the crop to ripen and so on… Not to be forgotten are the anticipated times of birthing of calves, lambs and more. Waiting is an innate part of


life and food production. This point was made even clearer to me this past month when I went to visit family in Saskatchewan. To the great relief of farmers in the southern portion of the province who were becoming desperate for moisture,


southern and central areas experienced a mid-March blizzard that dropped between 20 and 45 centimetres of precipitation. Central to southern portions, including a lot of the drought-stricken areas, experienced snow and winds that closed


highways and covered the fields with much needed white-stuff. This, according to a CBC news report, brought the snowpack to near or above normal levels. While waiting can yield either positive or disappointing results, in some cases waiting means gaining the most from a dream. Case in point: I recently interviewed an Upper Sunshine Coast farmer who recounted how as a child he had his own rows of produce in the family garden but waited until he’d fulfilled 16 years in another career before


stepping out to realize his long-time dream of establishing a farm. He’s now constructed a huge green house on a prime piece of farmland and hired two employees to help him during the phases of construction, planting, growing and selling locally-produced food. During last summer’s first season of production, he saw many customers come by the farm and he already has been contacted by local food stores and restaurants about supplying their


establishments this summer. His years of waiting and planning are now paying off. For too many people,


however, waiting for the next monthly pension or pay cheque can be a trying time. Thanks to the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program and the support of farmers, there is an option. According to its


SHOOT for the stars


while the trophy rich with history and the names of generations of winners sits tall on my bookcase, I believe that the integrity and determination I acquired through my time spent applying the motto “learn to do by doing” is the grand prize.


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– a realistic vision that still shoots for the stars. Once you have that vision, nothing is impossible – with time. I can’t stress time enough. To succeed, you must be patient. A lot of my success came from others, learning from others, being inspired by them, and being supported by them. The day I won, every single member congratulated me. On the days leading up to the show, I had plenty of people around helping me groom, feed and prepare. I did the same for them. So, yes, some things are impossible, but no vision can’t be achieved with time and with the right people. My 2016 steer was the grand champion but my grand prize was not a trophy, medal, piece of paper or banner. It


website, supporting the cause can be done through their online fundraising platform. Kudos to any organization that supports the aim of providing fresh local food to “thousands of British Columbians facing economic barriers, while directly supporting local farmers across BC.” Food producers, as well as individuals, local businesses, sports teams and other organizations are encouraged to donate directly to this Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program; official tax receipts are issued to donors. Those of us who live in


geographically isolated areas of the province realize how dependent our food supply is on the weather; a few stormy days without ferry or tugboat service and store shelves reflect their absence. Thankfully, there are more and more young farmers who have caught the vision of


food sustainability and though it will take time, we’re headed back to the origins of our community when once we exported dairy products and grew a good portion of our own food. Hurry up and wait for it to happen again looks far more feasible now than when we moved here 15 years ago. For many residents of the


province, we’ve waited through a brutal winter but now we’ve entered April and we’re waiting for that long- anticipated change in weather. As farm equipment is brought out of storage and moved into fields, waiting is replaced by the fulfilment of getting the crop in the ground and the animals in the field. Be it seeding on thousands of hectares or in backyard patches of soil, that which lured farmers, actual or wannabe, beckons once again. Now, it’s just hurry up!


nfrom page 43


was the people I met, the memories I made, and the lessons I learned along the way.


I only hope every 4-Her can find what I did through the program as it continues to grow and ensure generations of youth become capable adults. I can’t wait to return to the 4-H program as a leader and try my very hardest to share all that knowledge I have been graced with. If you are involved in 4-H as a member, leader, parent, buyer or sponsor, I would like to give sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart, because you changed my life. Skye Forcier is in her second


year at Acadia University in Nova Scotia pursuing a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. She has been a 4-H member since she was 7.


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