Introducing Team AA

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Marshall is checking weeds under the clear tarp.  He’s trying to actually stimulate (!) their germination so he can flame them before planting.  Nicola (on the right) is taking over front field management this year, and Marshall is mentoring her.

The farm team here at Abundant Acres is buzzing with positive energy.  Everyone working here in 2018 is returning from previous years, and although there is always more to learn, the crew seems confident and comfortable in their roles.  It feels like family.  David is relaxed and happy, and I’m feeling pretty good myself (Jen).  We’re all pretty stoked about this season and we hope you are too!

Marshall Zuern, who was one of the farm’s very first customers, is also our longest term employee.  He lives next door and will be producing all the eggs with movable coops in our pasture.  We hope he’ll graze the lay-dies in our 2017 vegetable fields P1 and P2.  He also plans to grow strawberries and sweet potatoes in 2019, two very popular crops!

Marshall introduces himself:  “Hello fellow real food lovers!  This will be my 5th year working for the Abundant Acres team and I’m looking forward to another whirlwind adventure of a growing season. Although I originally grew up in the urban jungle of Toronto, Onterrible, ever since my teenage years I’ve been moving further and further away from my urban roots in search of a life more in touch with the outdoors. Six years ago, I followed the love of my life when she decided to move out to Atlantic Canada, and we’ve never left! In fact, we have been so inspired by rural farm life in Nova Scotia, that we now own our own farm here in Centre Burlington. I look forward to being part of the local food movement here in Nova Scotia for many years to come and I feel honoured to be part of the team responsible for filling your fridges, tables, and bellies with delicious and nutritious food. See you all soon!”

Nicola is no stranger to Abundant Acres, as she worked here at the end of the 2017 season, and is Hyla’s beloved younger sister.  She spent some time biking through Jordan and Israel this winter, making many friends along the way.  She introduces herself: “I spend a lot of time thinking about dirt, sunshine, and what’s for lunch, but also books, bikes and Barney, the farm’s barn cat. I’m originally from rural southern Ontario, and studied something called Creative Industries at Ryerson University, which in some ways had very little and in others had quite a lot to do with farming.

I’ve made my way to Abundant Acres the same was any little sister does anything… I followed my big sister here. It only took me one growing season in the Northwest Territories, another in the Yukon, the following one in northern Ontario and yet another on PEI to land here, but I’m so happy that I have.
I love to farm for so many reasons, but mostly because I believe in the idea of growing food that’s delicious, healthy and accessible. I’m excited for the season to get growing, we’ve all got a good feeling about this one.”
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Erin planting turmeric roots

Erin is returning to the farm from the legendary 2016 team after a year on Dermot’s family vegetable farm in Ireland.  We have a feeling Dermot will be back too, soon.  Here’s Erin: “I’m returning for a second season here at Abundant Acres. I had a blast here in the summer of 2016, and I’m excited to do it all over again.

Last year I was in Ireland with my boyfriend, Dermot. I learned a lot about growing in a temperate climate where things can grow year round in the absence of hard frosts. Till I return, I’m pumped for a sunny, buggy, exhausting, veg-filled, fun-filled and super satisfying summer.
I originally got into farming through WWOOFing. I had an interest in gardening from helping my mother in the garden, as well an interest in learning more of what it takes to make organic farming a viable career. After being on different animal, vegetable and horse-powered farms, I was hooked.
When I’m not farming with this amazing AA crew, you might find me hiking, camping, cooking and reading, most likely mixed with a whole lotta knitting.”
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Rhi, Nicola, Hyla, Marshall, and Asad in front of Hyla’s painting on the delivery van.

Rhi is back on the farm, just a few short months after finishing the 2017 season:  “I am really excited to be starting my second season here at Abundant Acres. I manage the seedling greenhouse and absolutely love it! Last year I was also in charge of the hoop house production which was a great experience. This season I’m excited to switch things up and be managing the new heated production greenhouse (aka the Mega Greenhouse/Big Mama). 

My farming path began in 2011 as a salad picker in Southern Ontario and then I zig zagged my way from there to Halifax to the Ottawa River to Haida Gwaii to Stratford, ON to Kempt, NS, to Halifax again, to the Dominican Republic, to Stratford again, to Cuba, to Toronto and finally … to Abundant Acres.  

What inspires me to farm is doing something tangible to nurture and strengthen a food system that makes nutritious, fresh food accessible to everyone. The knowledge that the seed I’m placing in the soil will eventually turn into healthy food for people makes me endlessly happy. 

When I’m not farming, I’m likely to be found reading, taking photos, cooking, writing letters, drinking coffee, going for walks, swimming, or having a laughing fit with my goofy and wonderful boyfriend Brad.”

Brad, meanwhile, keeps the crowd entertained: “My name is Brad and I am happy to be back at Abundant Acres. I like nature, trees, creeks, stuff like that. I like making music too, and getting people all riled up with rock and roll.

You’ll find me tidying up the kitchen in the communal shack, making soil blocks for my girlfriend Rhianna to use for seedlings, or playing party music at the market for the local-food buying patrons.”

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Marshall, Hyla, Rhi, and Brad with their vegetables and one fruit

Hyla is back this year, and we are so happy because in the field she is fast and strong, but in her heart she is soft and sweet.  We love her so much!  And we are honoured to be selling her ceramics along with our vegetables.  They are stunning, just like all her art.  We’ve also discovered that in a very funny/punny crew, Hyla is the funniest.  But you have to be right up close to her because her humour is so subtle.  Here she introduces herself:  “I am excited to be back on Abundant Acres Farm as another season gets underway! I first arrived on this farm in the middle of winter two years ago to help out with various jobs – the most exciting turned out to be painting a storybook farm scene on the delivery van (with the generous permission and trust of Jen & David). I returned as part of the full time crew last year, and was awed by the amount of good food this small team produced. In my spare time, you can find me at my pottery wheel or exploring outside (apparently I enjoy being always covered in mud).”

Most market-goers will know Sigfried Laupus because he sells amazing bread for La Boulangerie Vendeene, located conveniently next to the Abundant Acres table at Seaport Market.  He will be working on the farm and at the market for Abundant Acres starting in May of this year.  We’ll be sure to get a photo of him soon!  His lovely girlfriend Audrey wrote this about him:  “Siggi originally comes from a small village in Germany. He has called Halifax home for 8 years now – embracing our rich history, diversity and coastal beauty. His love for bread took him to complete the baking program at the NSCC, but his original baking inspiration has always been his late Grandmother. His interest in alternative healthcare led him to study massage therapy. He will be graduating from the massage therapy program at CCMH in May and will then begin his massage therapy career alongside being a part of the Abundant Acres team.

His family’s farming roots have always been an inspiration to him to eat good food. His childhood and life in Germany have shaped the way he sees the world and has impacted his passion for being a responsible human, caring for the Earth and consuming in a responsible way.

Siggi is undeniably passionate about sustainable, ethical production, sourcing and consumption – and treats the Earth and every creature with respect. He is excited about this opportunity to work for Abundant Acres to have greater interaction with the Earth and learn more about farming and gardening, while also getting a chance to interact with people about food and farming. When he is not gardening, baking or massaging, he loves to dance (salsa and bachata), spend time in nature and write stories.”