Farmer Profile: The Veggie Patch, Alberta

Posted by Lisa Lundgard on April 22, 2014

Name: Lisa Lundgard
Age: 25
Farm Name: The Veggie Patch
Location: Grimshaw, AB
What do you produce?  I produce about 35 different varieties of vegetables.  I am on my families mixed farm and we raise and sell certified organic grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as pastured pork. 
Number of years farming: 4
Farming background: I grew up on my families mixed farm, which means chores - chores - and more chores!  I was the 12 year old kid who in speech competitions made my opening line, “Have you ever seen chicken poo fly?  Well I have!”, I think that sums it up a bit. 

How do you market?  I’ve been operating a vegetable CSA for four years and I supply vegetables to a buying club in Peace River throughout the winter.

How did you come up with your farm name?  My friend and I were driving up to the farm to start the veggie CSA and we brain stormed on the way up.  And somehow we stuck with the simple name The Veggie Patch.  It was easy to identify with and it just worked at the time.

What do you want your farm/farming career to look like in 20 years? Apart from potentially being a crazy seed saving lady with pockets full of seeds, I picture having a diverse farm with cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, laying hens, a milk cow, and the garden.  Each enterprise directly or indirectly linked with one another working with nature to grow the best tasting and nutritious whole foods.  I imagine some kids doing all those chores I remember so well from my childhood, keeping them fit and connected with their food.  I hope to see all of the food produced on the farm sold directly within my community.  And lots of pot lucks bringing people out to the farm to have fun - enjoying music, food, and friendships!

Who are your farming mentors?  It all started with a lady around Edmonton, Yolanda Stark.  After a visit with her on her farm, Tipi Creek Farm, where she has been operating a small vegetable CSA for the past 19 years, I was inspired and energized to head back up to the Peace Country and start my own CSA vegetable box program.  I would also have to credit some authors as my main mentors from internet sources to Elliot Coleman, through reading his book The New Organic Grower which kept me up at night.  And of course when I came back to the family farm my parents have been and continue to be my strongest mentors.

What song are you loving right now?  I am just loving this song by Jonossi, called Man Must Dance.  I haven’t got to listen to it in the garden but I can picture it getting you pumped to weed the next 100 foot row of veggies with a quick dance break in between!  But after a long day of vegetable deliveries I recommend the classic Nina Simone - Feeling good. 

Why did you join the National Farmer’s Union? 
I attended a NFU convention 4 years ago when I started farming.  They had inspirational and passionate speakers from all areas, and I was learning about new challenges and issues that small farmers across this country are faced with.  As well I met some amazing young farmers which in my area seem few and far between.  The NFU is a place to gain knowledge, get actively involved in a collective voice to fight for small farms and the basic rights of farmers, and to create ever lasting friendships to keep you smiling and enjoying life. 

What Book Changed Your World?  The Seed Underground - A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray.  It’s an easy read that lights the fire within to start saving seed!  I still have a far ways to go but I’m getting excited to try saving parsnip seed this year.

Dream Dinner?  Pot luck where everybody brings a surprise dish made from locally sourced ingredients with some passion in each dish. 

What issue is most on your radar right now that will challenge your farming dreams?  There is a huge disconnect with people and where their food comes from and what they are eating.  I’m really passionate about teaching people about food and getting them excited about it again.  Teaching people about what it means for their health, the communities health and the environment.  In the past 20 years we lost access to local food and I want to see it come back; I’m back on the farm to be a part of that change.