A New Direction

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A New Direction
over 2 years ago

It's been a while since I created new content. I reached a turning point in my life. Read on to find out why.

For over 6 years since a heart attack in 2010, I had been surviving by writing, speaking, coaching, book sales and some farm consulting work. In 2016 my old age pension started providing a small but welcome addition to the finances. I hadn't been a CPP contributor long enough for my benefit from that source to amount to much.

Most of my time was spent working on a desk top computer in my office in our old farmhouse.

Followers of my blog and readers of my book will be aware that Sue and I left Zimbabwe in 2003 after becoming casualties of the Zimbabwe government's illegal and brutal campaign to force all commercial farmers off our farms.

My son Bryan and his wife Karen had managed to survive in Zimbabwe managing a large field and horticulture farm. They were among the last 200 farmers still operating in that country.

By 2016, it became obvious that they could not survive much longer and the safety of their two young daughters was threatened.

As Sue and I and my older son were well settled here and Canadian citizens, Bryan and Karen decided to emigrate to Canada.

Unless one has a lot of money to invest, or claims to be a refugee, it is no longer easy to get permanent residence status.

We had to start a new business which would support Bryan and his family and create employment for Canadians.

With Bryan having been a farmer for all his working life and me for a large part of mine, some form of farming was the obvious choice.

To generate an income from field crops with conventional farming methods requires a huge capital investment in land, equipment and inputs for the first season.

Capital we didn't have.

We decided to start an intensive vegetable and herb farming operation. We use environmentally friendly growing practices in accordance with the high standards of safety and hygiene required by the European importers Bryan had to satisfy when exporting from Zimbabwe.

The photo in the header is me on our tractor attempting to break up the sods after the pasture was ploughed for the first time in 12 years.

Then we brought in the big stuff with a kind neighbour's help.

A New Direction

The owner of the farm where we live agreed that we could use the pasture where we kept our horses for our vegetables and to erect a cold frame or high tunnel which will extend our growing season.

We have also rented greenhouse space in a large greenhouse down the road where we will grow our seedlings for next year and over winter some cold tolerant crops.

Since we started the project in April, I have had to put most of my writing and other work on hold, no blog posts, no coaching or workshops, a few previously organised speaking engagements, minimal activity on social media.

Instead, I have been working long hours outside in the sun, working with my hands, driving the tractor, erecting the cold frame and getting up at 4:30 every Saturday to take a trailer load of produce to a farmers market.

It's a lot of fun, I feel good, have lost over 5 kg (which I needed to lose) and get to see my grandchildren most days. I am grateful that successful by-pass surgery in February allows me to once again be physically active.

A New Direction

2000 sq. ft. Cold Frame (High Tunnel)

With this change in direction, I will be writing about intensive, sustainable vegetable production and how a family can generate a good income on just a few acres of land. I'll also be writing about environmentally friendly production, the long road to becoming certified for organic production and more.

If you are near Woodstock come in and see us and buy our delicious, healthy vegetables.

A New Direction

Our first cabbages and peppers ready for market