January, 2014 – Erin McLean and Sarah Brien
What do a sheep farmer from Ridgetown and a berry grower from Peterborough have in common? They’re both enthusiastic young ladies who are passionate about agriculture and love to talk about life on their farms. Erin and Sarah are members of a team of Ontario farmers who are writing blogs, filming videos and tweeting about farm life. Find out what they have to say online at www.dinnerstartshere.ca or on twitter @HowDinnerStarts.
February, 2014 - Rankin Family
This family has been raising mink on their farm since the 1930s. The farm, started by Jim's dad, is now managed by his son Kirk and grandsons Jamie, Steve and Curtis. The family works well as a team, dividing up chores so they each have their own areas of responsibility. When they're not caring for their animals, they're avid sportsmen who enjoy baseball, hockey and fishing. Kirk’s also involved as a farm leader nationally, helping develop Codes of Practice guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals.
Sponsored by: Ontario Fur Breeders Association
March, 2014 – Cheryl Garniss
Cheryl graduated with a university degree in environmental studies and geography before her roots pulled her back home to Huron County. Today, she and her husband Adam own a family farm that includes a farm consulting and seed business and they grow crops like corn, soybeans and wheat. Daughter Ainsley loves helping her grandpa feed his pigs while Evelyn is a big fan of riding in the combine with her daddy.
April, 2014 – Harry Eisses and Colton Wohlgemuth
Harry's been farming in the Barrie area since he was 15, but his grandson Colton has him beat. Colton has been helping his family on their three generation egg farm since he was four. He loves to invite his friends over so they can learn more about farm life. Harry's thrilled to have the next two generations of his family working alongside him. When he's not busy caring for his hens, he's always been an active volunteer with many community organizations.
May, 2014 - Adam and Dana Thatcher
Raised in town, Dana studied to be a teacher and never imagined a life in the country until she met her farmer husband Adam. Today the two raise sheep, pigs, beef cows, chickens, turkeys and bees along with their three children on a farm near Guelph. Their busy farm enterprise also includes a butcher shop, store and bakery and a booth at a local farmers’ market. The two were recognized for their achievements and commitment to farming when they won the Ontario Outstanding Young Farmer competition in 2013.
June, 2014 - Kevin MacLean
Third generation farmer Kevin always planned to return home to the family dairy farm near Napanee after he graduated from university. Kevin and his family embrace every opportunity to be ambassadors of agriculture and host many visitors annually. Last year, they planned a “Christmas with the Cows” event that had 200 people show up to tour their barn and watch the cows being milked during the holiday season. Kevin’s favourite barn helper is his daughter Adrianna who is especially proud of her three horses.
July, 2014 - Rochelle Deslippe
Rochelle's grandfather started raising turkeys on their Essex County farm 85 years ago. She now farms with her father Jerome with help from her children Keith, John and Mary. Rochelle's passionate about Shōrin-ryū, an ancient form of karate. She's taken lessons for almost a decade, has helped as an instructor and has even studied in Japan. She's also an active volunteer in many community groups.
August, 2014 - John Kapetyn
John, Tammy and their five children Isabelle, Holly, Cordell, Willem and Nickolas live on a broiler hatching egg and crop farm near Barrie. For ten years, their family has grown a field of crops to be donated to the Canadian Food Grains Bank to help feed people facing hunger in other countries. John is an active farm leader in several provincial farm organizations. They are all avid baseball players and swimmers who also enjoy their farm’s collection of donkeys, goats, rabbits and ponies.
September, 2014 - Kim Jo Bliss
Growing up in northern Ontario, Kim Jo spent much of her youth on her grandma’s farm and knew she wanted to farm from an early age. Today, she still farms that land, raising beef cattle and sheep in the District of Rainy River. She also works at a local agricultural research station. Although less active, Make it Ontario Beefher grandma still offers lots of good advice. Kim Jo loves talking to people about where their food comes from and writes a farm column for her local newspaper.
October, 2014 - Darcy Smith
Darcy was raised on a dairy and crop farm near Pembroke. He studied agriculture at Kemptville College and tried his hand at a couple of other careers before returning home to farm with his parents. Today, Darcy and his wife Lyndsay are proud parents to four year old Austyn and two year old Oliver as well as twin newborn daughters Sadie and Dylan. Farming and being a dad takes up most of Darcy’s waking hours although he loves playing hockey when he can find the time.
November, 2014 - Heather and Jennifer Peart
There was never any doubt in the minds of sisters Heather and Jennifer that they were going to be dairy farmers. They both studied agriculture at the University of Guelph and bought their first farm together seven years ago. Jennifer milk cows early in the morning before going to an off-farm job. Heather works full time with her parents on their family dairy and crop farm. When they're not busy with farm chores, Heather is an avid crafter while Jennifer enjoys judging dairy 4-H shows at local fairs.
December, 2014 - Scott Richmond
Scott is a new dad and a fifth generation farmer working with his Ontario Association of Food Banksparents and wife raising pigs and growing corn and soybeans in Oxford County. He enjoys playing baseball, hockey and curling in his free time. Scott is also an active volunteer with many farm and community organizations. Across this province, farmers like Scott are participating in projects like the Ontario Pork Program which donates pork to food banks to help people.
January, 2015 - Heeman family
More than five decades ago, newlyweds Bill and Susan immigrated to Canada from Holland in search of new opportunities. They settled near London on a farm with a half-acre strawberry patch. Since then, the business has since grown to include more than 50 acres of strawberries and a garden centre. The family, which includes their children Rita and Rudy, daughter-in-law Florence and grandchildren Will and Bridget (shown), Tom and Katie, recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. They love to talk to people about their food, in person and online.