Meet Jenn from Nova Scotia, Canada

“I am a mom of four young adults , Courtney -24, Logan -20, Charlize- 17, and Luke -13; and grandmother to two beautiful grandsons Owen- 5, and Oliver-18 months. I am married to Trevor and we have lived on Cape Sable Island on the very southwest tip of Nova Scotia for the last 20 years. I am a too-many-generations-to -count farmer at heart, having grown up 30 minutes from here in Shelburne on the first Welsh settlement (almost 200 years ago) of farmland in Nova Scotia.

Over my working career I worked with recreation and leisure with children, women, Special populations and older adults for almost 24 years. I retired from my career in healthcare in December to follow my passion of growing food for our community. I always incorporated wellness around food into all of my work and feel very strongly that everyone should have access not only for the therapeutic benefits of growing food but also for the knowledge of how to grow good food. We are very active in 4H (Not for profit organization) often using the farm to help the children to learn.

I have gardened all my life, and we keep chickens, rabbits, horses and sheep on our small farm using the manure here on our garden and my son has a small side business of composting it, bagging it for the community to access. We use rotational grazing to increase soil health to put in a market garden in the coming year.

During the pandemic lockdown, I felt compelled to help people just get started in the garden to help their mental health, and also have food security. We formed a YouTube channel for our farm and My youngest son helped film a series of Beginner Gardening for Families and Children. We received so much positive feedback on how these inspired people to get started with growing their own food. On the island we live, it is a harsh climate with winds often reaching gusts of 100km, colder ocean temperatures and high humidity. We always need to be creative, and I’ve learned a few tricks to share.

Last year we organized the Barrington Farmer Market to take place in our community. It was a huge success, and even Covid didn’t stop us from building in that success this year. We sell our excess vegetables from our garden at the market in Barrington. But there is never enough. I really wasn’t able to help develop food security in our community. We are rich in lobster and seafood here, but not so much in fresh vegetables. We need to change that and the market is one way of starting at grass roots, which in my experience always works the best.

I believe the best part of this gardening year was doing the gardening videos with my son. It was a really great project that kept us going during these strange times. Mother Theresa said “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family”. For me, feeding my people good food we’ve grown, is the highest act of love.”