Hayes Urban Teaching Farm shows that NB’s economic future can be bright

Written by Edee Klee on February 12, 2018

Today’s news announced that New Brunswick may actually be in last place for economic growth. Cue online comment sections crammed with cynicisms and defeatist shoulder shrugs.

But what if we changed the goal? What if instead of growth, our economic aim was depth? Imagine – a depth economy that honoured slow business – where instead of elevator pitches and quick buck lobbying, we agreed to stay in place and took the time to uncover relational synergies within the abundance we already have?

The Hayes Urban Teaching Farm project intends to do just that. This Spring we’re launching the pilot of Atlantic Canada’s first 32-week full-time learn-to-farm program. The Regenerative Farming Certificate program will teach human-scale, regenerative organic agricultural practices with goals of:

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Meaningful job creation
  • Improved food security and sovereignty
  • Revitalizing the health of our urban and rural communities’

The face of farming is changing. Based on a 2015 survey of over 1300 new Canadian farmers by the National New Farmer Coalition, the majority are females from an urban setting, with some post-secondary education choosing ecologically-sound farming practices.

Without access to traditional generational farm succession, the challenge for the majority of our new farmers is the lack of access to comprehensive training, land, equipment and capital.

It is estimated that New Brunswick currently imports 95% of the food we consume and we’re only 8% self-sufficient in vegetable production.

The Regenerative Farming Certificate program recognizes and supports all agriculturally-related recommendations, mandates and insights found in the following GNB reports:

  • Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy: New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan
  • Local Food and Beverages Strategy
  • Economic Growth Plan
  • Agriculture Land Policy

New Brunswickers are people of the land. Many who leave to find work elsewhere, come back because of their attachment to the land. What if we could provide an innovative way for folks to not only stay, but flourish in our province?

There is a growing demographic (eg. millennials, second-career seekers, newcomers with agrarian background, etc.) seeking a modest-yet-meaningful lifestyle reconnecting with the land. The program’s accessible urban location meets students where they are, for ease of gaining skills, knowledge, and confidence in their goal of becoming successful small-scale regenerative farmers.

Through this project, we recognize and strive to honour Indigenous knowledge and food ways. With our daily decisions, community partners, curriculum, and land care, we are working to weave a strong, attentive, and complementary relationship between Mother Earth AND the people that live off of her bounty.

Please support us in bringing farming back as a viable career choice for the growing demographic seeking a modest yet meaningful lifestyle reconnecting with the land. Our crowdfund campaign ends in 10 days.

Edee Klee is active with the NB Community Harvest Gardens, U-PICK-By-Donation, Seed Library and the Hayes Urban Teaching Farm. 

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