Fields to Forks: Fredericton urban farm aims to grow new generation of farmers
FREDERICTON -- An urban farm in Fredericton is cultivating a love of farming and food security in the community, while bringing produce from fields to forks.
You may think rural, not urban when you think of farms. But Fredericton’s Hayes Farm is far from ordinary.
Hayes Farm is a non-profit community teaching farm located in a residential neighbourhood on Fredericton’s North side.
The fields at Hayes Farm are the classroom, where future farmers learn to grow and harvest crops within city limits, with a focus on how to create healthy soil.
“Making sure when we are approaching and growing food production, it’s not just what we get out of the plant, but it’s feeding the soil and the soil life that feeds the plant,” says Hayes Farm coordinator Claire May.
The farm is broken down into nine field blocks, which students are individually responsible for.
“It’s up to the students to manage all those, from the seeding, to the weeding, to the harvesting, to the closing up of the beds,” explains farm manager Mark Trealout.
Inside a three-season hoop house, Tshering Penjor is hard at work, using last season’s plants to revitalize and rebuild the soil in planters.
Originally from Bhutan, Penjor is one of the recent graduates of the regenerative farming course at Hayes Farm, where he now works as a teaching assistant.
“I took this course last year, 18-week course, and then I graduated and found out there was an opportunity to learn here as a teaching assistant,” explains Penjor.
In addition to the basics, Hayes Farm is on a mission to educate and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The regenerative farming certificate program is a full-time spring and summer course. There are also part-time fall courses, along with more casual opportunities.
“It’s also really inspiring to see younger generations of farmers, learning to grown their own food. I think that is the best part,” says Penjor.
A farm focused on not only growing vegetables, but a whole new generation of farmers.