I’m a Farmer!

With the onset of a new year, a new school term, and a new blog, I also got a new job, because I just don’t have enough on my plate. And you know what, I don’t mind this extra work. It helps me stay organized and on top of things; I don’t know why or how that works, but I’m not here to question things.

As a part of my diploma requirements, I have to get in 455 hours of work experience in a horticulture related setting. Do the math on that and they expect approximately 3 months of full time work, and the intention from the program is that you do this 12 weeks of full time, usually labour intensive work in the summer term, when they don’t offer many classes. I don’t feel that they consider the diverse backgrounds of their students with this intention.

Thankfully, as a planner (pun intended) I was planning out each term of my diploma to ensure that I got all the credits I needed, so I saw this work experience requirement early on. There is no way that between owning a business (not in the horticulture sector) which operates primarily in the summer, taking at least two courses in the summer term, and being a mom to a child who at 1.5 is already a handful, that working a full time job was going to be conducive to a healthy life. So in doing the math, I needed to start a job no later than January and I had to do at least 50 hours/month in order to meet the requirements of my class. So I started looking for a very part-time gig.

I was lost. Where to apply? It was December and what kind of landscaper is hiring part-time for January? The job search left me questioning constantly if I was going to make it work.

She did not paint just how far in the starting process her farm was in. Note the few holly plants heavy with berries and the rest being bare plants.

I some how ended up applying for a job that (in it’s posting) seemed a little boring, and short term, and definitely past the scope of what my education had taught me thus-far. But when the farm owner contacted me for an interview, I considered that I hadn’t been the interviewee in an interview in a very very long time (2015 I think was the last time I was properly interviewed for a gig) so I took it. Little did I know, this interview would lead to the very kind of job that I dreamt about when I first started thinking about a career in horticulture; farm consulting.

2 roosters, 2 hens, strutting around
I’m also spending time with these cocks.

Okay, I’m not a farm consultant, per se, my official title is something along the lines of Farm Operations Manager or something to that effect. But what I am doing is consulting. In my interview I got to visit the property where the owner is trying to establish a new farm, mostly as a hobby, but also to obtain farm status for tax reasons. This woman has bright ideas for the farm, but needs a hand to help here with the physical work and also the research and data collection and all that other administrative stuff. She also has a lot of flexibility on how the farm operates. For over a month now, she and I have been collaborating on establishing her farm.

In my interview I was completely upfront with the owner about my education, but also about my willingness to learn and how my background as a wedding coordinator could lend to me being an excellent operations manager. Evidently, she agreed.

Holly berries on an evergreen Ilex tree
She does have a few well established holly trees onsite, including this beauty; but they are far too large to be farming.

This farm brings so much excitement to me. While I get through the grueling work of all the research and computer stuff, I am very much looking forward to rewarding work of getting my hands dirty and my muscles moving.

So I’m a farmer now. I am growing holly, I will be growing Christmas trees, and a few other food crops that I can’t tell you about quite yet, but damn, they excite me.

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