Fourteen years ago, Alice Boland was on welfare. Today, she’s the Yukon’s top farmer.
“Here I am – a teacher and farmer of the year!”
She started farming in 1996 to make something of herself. Then, 10 years ago, she got Carmacks its first greenhouse.
While youth vandalized the facility a few times in its early years, today they are the ones doing most of the work.
“Now I teach the younger people about farming,” she said. “I’m really proud of this community and my youth.”
The operation creates its own soil through compost, and potatoes, carrots and tomatoes make up most of the harvest.
But the greenhouse is famous for its sweet corn, said the 49-year-old Boland.
“Celery’s the hardest to grow, but we were successful this year.”
Most of this food goes to single parents, diabetics and to the school, she added.
The rest is sold, leaving little for Boland’s cellar.
Boland is the first aboriginal person to be named farmer of the year.
The 10th award ceremony was held Saturday. She was invited to the event on Friday.
“I am proud to be a First Nations gardener,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work.”
“I heard we got votes from Newfoundland and Ottawa … It makes me feel good to know people so far away know about our vegetables here in Yukon.”
Plans are in the works to expand the greenhouse and the potato field, which currently sits on about three hectares of land across the Yukon River.
A bridge would be nice – gardening the split operation is tough enough without one, she said.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at firstname.lastname@example.org