Local farmers pushing through despite weather, uncertain future

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act of 2007 set out a long-term objective to ensure that “local food consumption is supported and encouraged, with the goal of 20 per cent of the money spent on food by Nova Scotians being spent on locally produced food by 2020.”

Local, small-scale farmers need our support more than ever, not just for their sakes but for a future-proof, resilient food system that will withstand the demands of our changing climate.

Sisters Rebecca and Jessie McInnis run Spring Tide Farm, a small-scale, certified organic vegetable and cut flower operation in Lapland, Nova Scotia. This is their third season growing
in Lunenburg County and they have noticed the weather becoming more extreme in both precipitation and temperature year after year.

Rebecca says, “The perfect conditions for us would be having some sunny days and getting an inch of rain over a week. We don’t see that at all anymore. There is either no rain – periods
of drought – or periods of excess rain.”

They have had to lean more than ever on the community they have built online and in person to support them through new challenges every summer. During the recent floods, their usual
Saturday market in Liverpool was cancelled and customers had to pivot to pick up their CSA (community supported agriculture) shares.

“That was a situation that was a bit frantic. We had a cooler full of produce, with no electricity, ready to sell,” says Rebecca.

In the face of rising costs, climate anxieties and the constant need to pivot and problem-solve, these sisters still see the value in their small-scale farming pursuits.

“I think that part of what keeps me going is just acknowledging what the alternatives are right now in our food systems… to know that we are part of an alternative to the dominant paradigm of the industrial food system of grocery stores and that there are so many other small farmers like us that have a similar goal to help feed our communities with good, ecologically-grown food.”


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