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Congratulations to our 2019 Earth Award Winner

Julia Maxwell!

We received many applications from inspiring women, striving to better the world around us. We want to acknowledge an amazing young individual this year.

 

Congratulations to our 2019 Earth Award Winner

Julia Maxwell!

We received many applications from inspiring women, striving to better the world around us. We want to acknowledge an amazing young individual this year.


 

Meet Julia

Founder & Owner of Crocus Hill Farms.


Julia owns and operates a small but mighty organic farm in Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Working to
improve sustainable farming and crop biodiversity, her efforts help build community around better, healthier and (delicious!) food production.

This award will help her build a small walk-in cooler to speed up & improve her production. We're excited to see your farm grow Julia. You're a huge inspiration to us :) and we are here cheering you on!

 

Learn more about her farm: Crocus Hill Gardens here.

 


 

Meet Julia

Founder & Owner of Crocus Hill Farms.


Julia owns and operates a small but mighty organic farm in Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Working
to improve sustainable farming and crop biodiversity, her efforts help build community around better, healthier and (delicious!) food production.

This award will help her build a small walk-in cooler to speed up & improve her production. We're excited to see your farm grow Julia. You're a huge inspiration to us :) and we are here cheering you on!

 

Learn more about her farm: Crocus Hill Gardens here.

Stay tuned on LNBF newsletter for updates & more.


 

About Julia's work:

"I knew very early on that this was the work I wanted to dedicate my life to. If I couldn’t save the whole world, I could at least create something beautiful, nourishing and healing in my own community. The food system I envision is made up - not of multi-million dollar monocultures, but of many small, bio-diverse, happy, healthy & resource-efficient production systems. I am honoured to be a part of that beautiful puzzle and I hope that my farm, as it progresses, will train, inspire and motivate many other young people to join the small farm movement."

 

About Julia's work:

"I knew very early on that this was the work I wanted to dedicate my life to. If I couldn’t save the whole world, I could at least create something beautiful, nourishing and healing in my own community. The food system I envision is made up - not of multi-million dollar monocultures, but of many small, bio-diverse, happy, healthy & resource-efficient production systems. I am honoured to be a part of that beautiful puzzle and I hope that my farm, as it progresses, will train, inspire and motivate many other young people to join the small farm movement."


 

Learn more in our Q&A:

 

Congratulations Julia! We love your dedication and hard work. It's really meaningful work to improve crop biodiversity, and to bridge the gap between farmers and us as consumers.

Thank you so much for the award, and also for the kind words. It truly means a lot.

 

What inspired you to join the ecological farming community?

I came into farming as a wide-eyed and weary-hearted young environmentalist. Growing up, I was devastated to learn about the damage humans were doing to ourselves and the natural world. I didn’t learn the term “eco-anxiety” until very recently, but I definitely felt it throughout my formative years, as I watched the climate catastrophe grow. At 19, I moved to Ontario to study International Development. I wanted to figure out my place in this complicated world and what I could do to help it.

 

Learn more in our Q&A:

 

Congratulations Julia! We love your dedication and hard work. It's really meaningful work to improve crop biodiversity, and to bridge the gap between farmers and us as consumers.

Thank you so much for the award, and also for the kind words. It truly means a lot.

 

What inspired you to join the ecological farming community?

I came into farming as a wide-eyed and weary-hearted young environmentalist. Growing up, I was devastated to learn about the damage humans were doing to ourselves and the natural world. I didn’t learn the term “eco-anxiety” until very recently, but I definitely felt it throughout my formative years, as I watched the climate catastrophe grow. At 19, I moved to Ontario to study International Development. I wanted to figure out my place in this complicated world and what I could do to help it.


 

How did you decide farming was your way to help

For me, agriculture quickly became a logical place to start. This was not only because I come from a long line of farmers, but simply because food is the very foundation of society. Agriculture is what sustains us as humans, but paradoxically, our modern industrial food system is also a driving force of so much ecological damage, human exploitation and suffering. It seemed clear to me that a vibrant, healthy world would need to begin with a vibrant healthy food system, and in my opinion, a vibrant healthy food system needs to start with vibrant, healthy farms and farmers.

 

How did you decide farming was your way to help

For me, agriculture quickly became a logical place to start. This was not only because I come from a long line of farmers, but simply because food is the very foundation of society. Agriculture is what sustains us as humans, but paradoxically, our modern industrial food system is also a driving force of so much ecological damage, human exploitation and suffering. It seemed clear to me that a vibrant, healthy world would need to begin with a vibrant healthy food system, and in my opinion, a vibrant healthy food system needs to start with vibrant, healthy farms and farmers.


 

Could you tell us a bit more about how education helped navigate you through this journey?

I found out my feelings were echoed by many young sustainable farmers and I quickly found a home in the ecological farming community of Ontario. During my first season as an intern on an organic veggie farm, I also made the life-changing realization that not only was this work good for the world at large, but it was good for me personally.


Through farming, I began to learn how to channel my feelings of dread, guilt and sorrow for the planet into something more productive, and most importantly, more fun. My farmer mentors showed me how growing food could be such a powerful way to care for the land, nourish the community, and in the process, heal our own emotional wounds. I was hooked and I knew very early on that this was the work I wanted to dedicate my life to. If I couldn’t save the whole world, I could at least create something beautiful, nourishing and healing in my own community.

 

Could you tell us a bit more about how education helped navigate you through this journey?

I found out my feelings were echoed by many young sustainable farmers and I quickly found a home in the ecological farming community of Ontario. During my first season as an intern on an organic veggie farm, I also made the life-changing realization that not only was this work good for the world at large, but it was good for me personally.


Through farming, I began to learn how to channel my feelings of dread, guilt and sorrow for the planet into something more productive, and most importantly, more fun. My farmer mentors showed me how growing food could be such a powerful way to care for the land, nourish the community, and in the process, heal our own emotional wounds. I was hooked and I knew very early on that this was the work I wanted to dedicate my life to. If I couldn’t save the whole world, I could at least create something beautiful, nourishing and healing in my own community.


 

What are some hardships you've had to overcome in your pursuit of making a difference in your community?

Most of the time I feel truly blessed to get to do the work that I do. In what other profession do you get to roll out bed in the morning, throw on a hat and whatever grungy outfit you fancy, spend your whole day immersed in the natural world, using your body and mind, then eat like a queen and sleep like a baby?


Of course not every day is easy, but for the most part, the work itself is intoxicating. It has to be, because otherwise nobody would be doing it. Ecological farmers make a lot of personal sacrifices in order to do the work that they do. The job is often precarious with no health benefits, no insurance plan, and poverty wages if any wages at all. It is difficult to convince the public to value our work because the modern industrial food system has so successfully made food cheap, abundant and readily available. What people don’t realize is that cheap food always hinges on the exploitation of land, resources and workers- a process that is not just, nor sustainable in the long run. So ecological farmers must add public education and advocacy to their long list of things to do, which can often be exhausting and emotionally fraught. This aspect of farming is especially challenging for me, as I have to do a lot of it alone.


Saskatchewan is a land of cash crops and monocultures, and I am the only ecological farmer in my community within 100km. While I do have many supportive customers, I also have my fair share of critics. People complain about prices, treat me like I’m small, naive and inconsequential, or tell me that organic farms will “never feed the world,” and I must do my best to defend myself. I often consider retreating back into the bubble of supportive and progressive peers, but I know that that’s not how change happens.

 

What are some hardships you've had to overcome in your pursuit of making a difference in your community?

Most of the time I feel truly blessed to get to do the work that I do. In what other profession do you get to roll out bed in the morning, throw on a hat and whatever grungy outfit you fancy, spend your whole day immersed in the natural world, using your body and mind, then eat like a queen and sleep like a baby?


Of course not every day is easy, but for the most part, the work itself is intoxicating. It has to be, because otherwise nobody would be doing it. Ecological farmers make a lot of personal sacrifices in order to do the work that they do. The job is often precarious with no health benefits, no insurance plan, and poverty wages if any wages at all. It is difficult to convince the public to value our work because the modern industrial food system has so successfully made food cheap, abundant and readily available. What people don’t realize is that cheap food always hinges on the exploitation of land, resources and workers- a process that is not just, nor sustainable in the long run. So ecological farmers must add public education and advocacy to their long list of things to do, which can often be exhausting and emotionally fraught. This aspect of farming is especially challenging for me, as I have to do a lot of it alone.


Saskatchewan is a land of cash crops and monocultures, and I am the only ecological farmer in my community within 100km. While I do have many supportive customers, I also have my fair share of critics. People complain about prices, treat me like I’m small, naive and inconsequential, or tell me that organic farms will “never feed the world,” and I must do my best to defend myself. I often consider retreating back into the bubble of supportive and progressive peers, but I know that that’s not how change happens.

 

 

Tell us more about how growing food is a way for you to care and heal the land.

There is no way to practice agriculture without disrupting the natural environment. However, disruption does not have to equal devastation. All of the land we use to grow vegetables at Crocus Hill Garden was previously used for conventional grain production, a system of farming that depends on monocultures, and synthetic inputs. This way of farming is often extremely harmful to soil health, local ecology and biodiversity. In contrast, my gardens are free of synthetic inputs, and highly biodiverse, with over 40 varieties of vegetables, herbs, perennial fruits, and flowers being planted each season. Rather than work against nature, I try to foster healthy natural processes and ecological synergies in the garden- such as beneficial insects, cover crops and companion plants- to create a thriving, resilient and low-input food production system.

 

Tell us more about how growing food is a way for you to care and heal the land.

There is no way to practice agriculture without disrupting the natural environment. However, disruption does not have to equal devastation. All of the land we use to grow vegetables at Crocus Hill Garden was previously used for conventional grain production, a system of farming that depends on monocultures, and synthetic inputs. This way of farming is often extremely harmful to soil health, local ecology and biodiversity. In contrast, my gardens are free of synthetic inputs, and highly biodiverse, with over 40 varieties of vegetables, herbs, perennial fruits, and flowers being planted each season. Rather than work against nature, I try to foster healthy natural processes and ecological synergies in the garden- such as beneficial insects, cover crops and companion plants- to create a thriving, resilient and low-input food production system.


 

Finally, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

I will keep farming as long as my body allows me to! The plan for Crocus Hill is to scale up production and grow the business for a few years, but not to grow it indefinitely. I want CHG to feed as many mouths and employ as many people as possible while remaining true to my original values of environmental sustainability and community building. The food system I envision is made up not of multi-million dollar monocultures, but of many small, biodiverse, happy, healthy and highly resource-efficient production systems.

 

Finally, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

I will keep farming as long as my body allows me to! The plan for Crocus Hill is to scale up production and grow the business for a few years, but not to grow it indefinitely. I want CHG to feed as many mouths and employ as many people as possible while remaining true to my original values of environmental sustainability and community building. The food system I envision is made up not of multi-million dollar monocultures, but of many small, biodiverse, happy, healthy and highly resource-efficient production systems.



 

 

More about LNBF Earth Award:

The LNBF Earth award is our way to empower others to create a more sustainable world. Each year we open up applications, and award one inspiring individual working to better our world. This year, and in previous years our award has been a $500 grant & certificate to support the winner's sustainable venture. Projects can include: an established business, social-enterprise, non-profit or creative project making a positive impact on society & the environment. We hope to see your application in the future!

 

 

 

More about LNBF Earth Award:

The LNBF Earth award is our way to empower others to create a more sustainable world. Each year we open up applications, and award one inspiring individual working to better our world. This year, and in previous years our award has been a $500 grant & certificate to support the winner's sustainable venture. Projects can include: an established business, social-enterprise, non-profit or creative project making a positive impact on society & the environment. We hope to see your application in the future!

 

 

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