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 arrived so as to not cross their 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 a jump in the lake at the end of it all to cool down and clean off.
After moving off of Saltspring, I spent the 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, CSA box program customers, family and friends made it possible.
Each season since has brought new challenges (hello heat domes and flooding), lots of successes (like every time that the seeds I plant germinate perfectly) and the chance to meet and connect with so many lovely CSA box members and other farmers in the community.
Currently heading into Season Four, I feel so honoured to spend my days growing fresh produce for the people and communities I care for deeply. I haven’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 Jewish (from Poland and Ukraine/Russia) and Serbian (from Bosnia and Herzegovina) roots on my Dad’s side and ancestry from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland on my Mum’s side.
I'm currently living uninvited on lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ lands, on the north slope of PKOLS. I grew up on the territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples in čən’it taŋ’exw and I also spent formative time in Hul'q'umi'num-speaking and W̱SÁNEĆ territories.
During the winter when the mud is too deep to be farming and I need a break from staring at farm spreadsheets, I facilitate Queer Sex Ed workshops in the community and help run the monthly Queer Crafternoon program.
In my free time (which is admittedly sparse during farm season but we’re working on it!) I love curling up with a good book or fanfic, jumping in the ocean, going on long walks, drinking endless cups of tea, learning new languages, playing board games and spending time with friends and family.