2 minute read

Living off the Land

Jim Ade teaches his grandson about farming on his family land in Conception Bay South.
Jim Ade photo

For as long as I can remember,

whenever my mom visits her sister in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, she often comes back with a bag filled with some type of root vegetable, typically potatoes. They've never seen the inside of a grocery store and sometimes they still have a bit of soil clinging to them, which washes away easily enough before being cooked up for Sunday dinner.

We call them “Jim’s Potatoes,” after my uncle Jim Ade, a farmer from a long line of farmers. He’s lived his whole life on this one plot of land that’s been in his family for generations.

Overhead view of the rows of greenhouses at Lester's Farm
Tobias Romaniuk photo

Forging Food Attitudes

Along Brookfield Road, about where St. John’s meets Mount Pearl and just a stone’s throw away from the busy road, are fields of green and swaths of earth covered in plastic sheets protecting the growing plants beneath, and long stretches of massive greenhouses.

This is Lester’s Farm Market. The Lester family has been providing food to the province for more than 160 years, making Susan Lester a sixth generation farmer. While she did work in other industries for a time, she eventually returned to the farm to continue the Lester legacy.

Trina Porter in her vegetable garden - a hobby that has turned into a full-time occupation.
Wanda Porter photo

A Fresh Face in Farming

Right now, looking down at her field in Conception Bay South, Trina Porter has what she calls a grocery store in the ground. At her farm, she grows celery, cilantro, parsley, “real turnip” (different from rutabaga, which she also grows), as well as rhubarb, bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, three varieties of winter squash, plenty of root vegetables and cabbage; basically, “whatever you put into your Jiggs dinner,” she adds.

Join us next month for part 2 of the Future of Farming series when Downhome talks to people in government and education who are supporting our farmers in the important effort to increase Newfoundland and Labrador’s food security for the coming years.

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