ALUMNI PROFILE – THE FARM TEAM, PART 2
The Farm Team is a group of five permaculture enthusiasts who owns 15 acres of land an hour out of Calgary. Audrey Smith, Mike Yaunish, Sean Davis, Anaya Lea, and Andrea Rocchio live together and pool their efforts to grow local and nutritious food. Drawing upon permaculture prinicples and insights gleaned from the Adaptive Habitat Land Design Program, the group is passionate about making farm-to-table living a tangible reality.
You can read Part 1 of the interview HERE.
Current Project Passions
Audrey Smith: The most exciting element of my work with the Farm Team right now is working with soil. I love making good compost, developing a vermicompost operation, and learning to track its quality. I’m excited to trial the effects of various biological soil amendments with our plants. On top of that, managing the marketing side of the business, along with figuring out a heating system for our barns, has been enjoyably stressful. I’m never bored!
Mike Yaunish: The most exciting part for me is observing how we are including more and more design elements to make us more sustainable overall. As our efforts expand and affect more of our operations, I can see how we will profit from our decisions, in time and money, over the medium and long-term.
Sean Davis: The most exciting aspect for me is seeing the degree of change from what we originally started with. The turning point for me will be when we have all the earthworks completed.
Anaya Lea: The most desirable part for me is getting a food forest started. I wanted it done yesterday, but the six big barns that represent the biggest features on the property take priority. I constantly vacillate between the barns and the food forest when I’m trying to focus!
Andrea Rocchio: The most thrilling part for me is the potential to build my future in a way that is fulfilling, balanced, and profitable. Every day provides me with the chance to learn more about myself, the land, and the work we’re doing. It’s a relief to find hope to some of the world’s environmental problems through the work in healing our land.
We finished the Adaptive Habitat program this spring, and it reaffirmed the lessons we gained through past permaculture courses. It also gave us an excellent format for organizing information and future priorities. When it comes to making decisions about the land or the various businesses, I feel confident in having this foundational knowledge and a robust framework to guide us.
A Shared Vision Going Forward
Audrey: Permaculture drives and guides our operations. It’s the unifying foundation of our team. My ultimate vision for the Farm Team is for it to be successful enough to become a model for another way of living. Our project is rich with business possibilities, some of which we’ve initiated and are marketing, some of which are still in the planning stages. Our land and infrastructure offers incredible potential that we’ve only begun to tap.
Mike: My vision is to build a real-world proof-of-concept property. It should showcase the viability of a food forest, an annual garden, and an educational space that nourishes both the body and the mind. I want others to incorporate these ideas and practices into their own ways of living.
Sean: I want to see a productive property that provides livable incomes, fulfilling careers, and thriving businesses. I want the space to serve as an active permaculture education and demonstration site.
Anaya: I want our land to be a centre of influence in regenerative practices. I want, over time, for the space to inspire regenerative practices and attitudes far and wide. I hope that the project spans beyond our own lives and into successive generations.
Andrea: Our vision statement is to be a centre of influence in regenerative practices. In these early years, that means figuring out regenerative practices, weaving them into successful businesses, and then helping others do the same.
How Permaculture has Changed Our Lives
Audrey: Permaculture offered me a framework to crystallize my beliefs and intent into action. I think it’s a life path and that applying its design approaches to a whole life is a healthy way to live. The world is waking up in so many ways, and permaculture can facilitate so much of that awakening.
Mike: Permaculture is my life now. I live on the farm and we apply those practices to create our future together. It’s made me feel more confident in our ability to affect positive environmental change.
Sean: We’re designing and implementing the plan we made during the Adaptive Habitat Design course. Permaculture is in every aspect of our plans and actions. It’s changed my job where I live, and my life goals.
Anaya: I was retired when we started embarking on this permaculture journey. Now permaculture has become my vocation. It grounds me; there’s a sanity in it that doesn’t exist elsewhere in modern society. I feel like I finally have a life purpose and something worth doing. I have two daughters who are watching and learning from me, so it’s also become an act of legacy.
Andrea: Permaculture brought me into a community of like-minded individuals who are concerned about the environment and who are willing to do something about it on the grassroots level. I’m grateful for that.
Want to learn more about the Farm Team and their work?