Gillian Guillermo Griffin Anderson

We are a young married couple (early 30s) currently wwoofing in Ireland, learning about organic food production, biodynamics, and permaculture. We will return to Ontario in early 2018 and are seeking opportunities to work with experienced non-conventional farmers and to gain access to a plot of land to incubate our farming enterprise. Our medium to long term goal is to have a small holding/profitable working farm of our own. We have combined backgrounds in business, marketing, communications, international development, hospitality and film production.

Experience

We both studied Business. Gillian then got her Masters in International Development and worked for the next 10 years in development and communications (4 of those years working in East and West Africa), and independently developed skills in film-making. Guillermo worked in marketing and advertising for 7 years and helped launch and grow the Leslieville Farmers' Market in Toronto before switching careers. He cooked and butchered professionally for the last 3 years at two top Toronto restaurants. Gui helped grow a direct-to-home e-commerce-based meat share business for urban consumers.

Our combined 20 years of professional experience and our interest in food systems, soil health, and sustainability will help us transition into the life that we ultimately want to live for ourselves and our family.

We decided to test drive this lifestyle and kick start our journey through WWOOF Ireland. Here, we are quickly learning about the challenging and rewarding aspects of growing food, as well as building our knowledge base of horticulture, permaculture, and different farming techniques.
We are combining this practical experience with great theory from books that we're devouring. An aspect of great interest to us is soil. We are eager to start working land where we can see soils improved over the years. We feel we are realistic in our expectations of the time that our project will take. Using the marathon vs. sprint analogy, we are eager to get going, and start on the marathon that will be the rest of our lives farming.

Partner(s)

It'll be Gillian and Guillermo for now. There may be little G's in a few years, but we will let time take care of that.

Farm vision

We want to start small. Short term: we want to put into practice everything that we will have learned and work on less than 1 acre for profitable and good yielding vegetable and herb varieties. A small flock of poultry is desirable. After a couple/few of years, we will look to expand our footprint and incorporate larger areas where we can start thinking about laying down the foundations for future orchards and food forests. Incorporating then larger livestock that can help us in developing healthy ecosystems. Depending on conditions, we would also be keen to incorporate existing or new waterways that can further the cohesiveness of our ecosystems. Again, this all sounds fine and good but we will know not to rush into any of this unless it's prudent to do so. Something we heard in Ireland that resonated with us is the notion of "growing to remain small". That is something that we feel will guide us throughout our life project.

Relationship with farm owner

Where to begin. We have little experience but lots of heart. We've been commended on having the right attitude to tackle this on. We're eager to learn and grow. We believe in effective communication, proactive planning, implementing systems that work for both parties, and more communication. In all of our relationships, we strive for honesty, comfort, and straightforwardness.