Do farmers get vacations?

If you have a farm, livestock, operate a CSA, or rely on regular farmers’ markets for income, it can be hard to get away – especially during lambing, planting, harvesting, etc. This year, we are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and our 30th wedding anniversary by travelling across our beautiful country.

It’s a driving trip – mostly tent camping with regular stays in hotels/motels/university dorms/cabins/etc. to sleep in a real bed and have a bath and do laundry. I expect we will travel about 16,000 kms. When we get to the east coast, we are flying to Newfoundland and driving to Fogo Island – a pilgrimage of sorts. We will be travelling with my sister and her husband, whose family is from Fogo.

We can do this because our son is an excellent farm-sitter. My dog will be well cared-for. The sheep will be tended and protected. My houseplants might get watered. It is all in capable hands.

Farming can be 24/7. It can be gruelling and heartbreaking. It is a lot of work with little financial gain. It is also hugely satisfying, but everyone needs a break. For me, travel is mind-clearing and mind-expanding. New places, new ways of living, new perspectives, and new food to try! We are so fortunate to be able to do this; a safe country to travel in, confidence that there will be resources available if we run into a problem, friendly folk to help us. Canadians have won the birthplace lottery compared to so many of our fellow humans.

Since we started farming, I look at the landscape through a different lens. Last year, I was stunned by the huge mono-cropping farms in northern California. Travelling across the Canadian prairies will be another lesson in scale. I love to see the diversity of crops, conditions, and methods of farming when we travel. I also love to see so many people doing what we do – providing food for our families and communities, tending the soil, protecting our water sources and being good stewards of our land.

This year, we are celebrating the country of our birth. Canada is the second largest country in the world. I’ve had the privilege of visiting every province and territory. It is big. It is beautiful. It’s all ours. May your crops be plentiful, your livestock healthy, your wells full, and your hearts happy. See you when we get back home!