I wasn’t sure what to expect when driving up to Riverbend Gardens, whose farm is actually within Edmonton city limits, but it certainly wasn’t this: a young 3rd generation farming couple just in the middle of having a family struggling to find time to fight to stay on the land their family’s farmed for half a century. Juggling pregnancy, a couple toddlers, a large staff, farmer’s markets nearly daily, a whole pile of different vegetables and plants at various stages of growth, succession planning, and getting politically involved to protect their land against development cannot be an easy task. And the deer want to eat their crops. They have to hire a couple people to stand watch through the night while transplants size up, or the deer will put them out of business. Perhaps to drive the point home for my visit, mother nature knocked out their power, just for good measure.
One perk of taking on an established farm is they currently plant only half the land for the year, letting the other half rest. With the cost of land around the city in the millions/quarter, I’m assuming that’s generally not economically feasible. Producing food locally can be both a blessing and a curse, and it’s never been more evident to me than here.