Jonathan Stevens was raised in Winnipeg, but a keen interest in food security and the environmental aspects of food production, plus a fascination with the farming lifestyle, drew him past the perimeter and out to the farm.
“I felt there was a need for more people to get in to small scale, ecological farming. [And I had] kind of romantic ideals about simple life and simple work.”
Today Jonathan runs a CSA farm located just north of Teulon called Jonathan’s Farm. CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is a model of food distribution where people hire a farmer to grow vegetables for them.
Jonathan, 33, has a degree in jazz performance and worked a few jobs following graduation, but always felt “that pull to try farming.”
In 2009 he went to work on a small organic farm in Ontario, and in 2010 started Jonathan’s Farm on five rented acres. That first year he had 60 CSA members.
“People seemed really happy and that interaction, knowing I was bringing them something healthy that was making them happy, was really satisfying.”
Four years later Jonathan and the farm’s three staff provide weekly produce for about 250 CSA members, plus walk-up farmers’ market sales.
He’s frank about the work involved; often he puts in 15 hour days with next to no time off.
“As I focus more on trying to make it lucrative…it takes some of the fun out of it a bit. Sometimes it’s pretty exhausting and I wonder whether I should be working this hard.”
Nevertheless, he thinks he’ll stick it out.
“I’m still figuring out how to make it work, but I think it’s worth the effort.”
Visit Jonathan at the Wolseley Farmers’ Market, 980 Palmerston, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 until 7:30 p.m.
For more information about Jonathan’s Farm, click here.
To read more Stories of Food in Winnipeg, click here.