Published – July 12, 2011
Treading the muddy earth in leopard-print rubber boots, Audrey McDonald seems about as far away from the traditional image of a Canadian farmer as you could get, despite the surname. But Ms. McDonald, a part-time rehabilitation therapist who lives in Etobicoke, doesn’t see it that way. “My grandmother in Jamaica was a four-foot-ten-inch farmer, and so am I,” she joked.
Oblivious to the on-again, off-again rain, she showed off a row of cabbages ready for sale. “I’m particularly proud of these,” she said, though everything in the neat, weeded strips, from exotic mint to Jamaican callaloo greens, proved her devotion to organic farming. She hopes one day it will become her principle source of income.
Ms. McDonald is one of the latest incubator farmers supported by FarmStart, a non-profit organization that encourages new generations of young farmers. She’s also an example of what may well become a viable and significant link in Canada’s food-production chain – if not the future face of Canadian agriculture.