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Ardeo

Ardeo
Pronouns
they/them
Farmer

My Farming Story:

One of my earliest memories is sliding down a huge pile of soil slated for the brand new raised beds at my parents’ community garden in James Bay. Our next instructions, to my delight, were to jump up and down on the beds as the adults filled them up with soil. I still remember so clearly my glee at being allowed to get that mucky all for a very practical cause.

I was involved in school garden projects throughout high school. At Vic High, I spent a summer tending the school garden and sneaking in at 4am to harvest huge beets and pull rainbow carrots before the striking teachers put up picket lines. During my time at the Saturna Ecological Education Centre, I took an Agriculture 12 course and got to learn from many knowledgeable islanders growing food.

Three days after I finished grade twelve, I moved into a tent trailer and started my first farm internship at Singing Bird Farm on Saltspring Island. It was my first taste of the rhythm of farm life: up early for milking, harvest for the farmers’ market all day and then jump in the lake at the end of it all to cool down and clean off.

Since then, I’ve spent the past three years as the farm hand at City’s Edge Farm, with one summer off in the middle of it all to go farming in France. My time at City’s Edge Farm was an incredible mentorship experience and I grew both the hands-on skills needed to grow vegetables and the resilience needed to be a farmer. From blissful summer days watching eagles soar overhead to the days where everything goes wrong until there's nothing else to do but fall into a pile of mud and cry; the afternoons where there is a bounty of delicious produce ready to be delivered to eager customers to the mornings when we arrived to find everything had been destroyed by insects overnight; it’s been a rollercoaster of learning how to seed, transplant, weed and harvest while keeping the bunnies, deer and flea beetles at bay.

I launched Rake and Radish Farm the same month I turned 23, just as the rest of life was shutting down due to the start of the pandemic. The first season at Rake and Radish was incredibly busy as the transformation from hay field to half acre market garden took place. But the support of community, neighbours, 51 CSA box program customers, family and friends made it possible.

I’m feel honoured to spend my days growing fresh produce for the people and communities I care for deeply. I don’t see my peers reflected in current veggie box programs and I want to make sure people I care about can eat well and be nourished by sustainable produce. 

 

Who I Am:

I’m a white settler with Ashkenazi Jew (from Poland and Ukraine/Russia) and Serbian (from Bosnia and Herzegovina) roots on my Dad’s side and roots from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland on my Mum’s side.

I'm currently living uninvited on W̱SÁNEĆ lands, on the north slope of PKOLS. I grew up on the territory of the Lkwungen speaking peoples at čən’it taŋ’exw and I also spent formative time on ṮEḴTEḴSEN (Saturna Island) and W̱ENÁ¸NEĆ (Saltspring Island).

During the winter when the mud is too deep to be farming, I facilitate workshops for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth through Queer Peers and the Queering Schools Network. I also run Queer Sex Ed workshops in school and a monthly Queer Crafternoon.

In my elusive free time, I love curling up with a good book, jumping into the ocean, going on backpacking trips and drinking endless cups of tea. My idea of a perfect day involves spending time with the people I love, being outside surrounded by trees and eating ice cream while watching the sunset.