What started as a group of farming enthusiasts gathering to operate a small garden, has now turned into an educational journey on how to work with the land instead of against it.
In 2010, a few people came to an agreement with Canadian Mennonite University to use a plot of land on the campus as a garden, they called themselves the CMU Farmers and officially broke ground in 2011. In 2015 they became the Metanoia Farmers Worker Co-operative Ltd.
A Greek term for repentance, "metanoia," denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, and a fundamental transformation of the outlook of an individual’s vision of the world and of oneself. So, it is with this word that a group of young farmers felt a sense of transformation which led them to this vocation.
One part of Metanoia Farmers is that they are a Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) business and they help feed 30-70 households each year. CSA farms offer affordable and easily accessible ways to eat healthy food from local farmers, as well as create relationships between growers and consumers.
One thing about farming, it takes a lot of time and effort, which is why the co-farmers came to the agreement to change their farming techniques.
Megan Klassen-Wiebe is one of the co-farmers and is the only one remaining from the original group that started the cooperative 12 years ago. Her other co-farmers include Bryn Friesen-Epp, Kayla Drudge and Trey Dorn.
"The main reason why we want to improve this is that we have been experiencing and noticing the effects of climate change significantly in the last several years," says Klassen-Wiebe. "Both in the drought that we have experienced recently as well as extreme weather patterns that bring inconsistent and often intense rainfall."
To be a local role model in climate change mitigation, Metanoia Farmers has opted to change to permaculture farming techniques. This will include shifting the focus to retaining water flow and soil building and weed management practices such as mulching.
They've hired Heather Unger from Northern Grove Tree Service to create the permaculture site design, along with a Métis knowledge keeper and seed saver to guide them in what they should be planting and what kind of farming practices they should include.
Unfortunately, due to this change, they had to reduce their CSA numbers and won't be making as much income as normal, but it is the hope that once the permaculture techniques are in use and underway they can bring those numbers up once more.
Metanoia Farmers has started a GoFundMe page for those who wish to help them in their endeavours.
It is the hope that Metanoia Farmers will also have opportunities for the community to join them in learning about permaculture and finding a connection by getting their hands dirty with summer workshops and volunteer nights.
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