Celebrating 75 Years of Farming

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Last night, Farms at Work hosted a celebration of life, community and farming at the home of Mel Morton, an eighty-eight year old grain farmer from Fraserville, ON. Mel was thrilled to be able to share his extensive knowledge of agriculture with farmers young and old, and welcomed twenty-five eager participants to his farm for an informal field walk and discussion.

After showing us around his pristine fields of certified organic spelt and soy, we made our way into the barn to enjoy some cake, strawberry lemonade, and a rousing discussion of the changes in farming that Mel has experienced over his 75 year career. The discussion was informal and self-guided, with topics ranging from Mel's entry into farming at 16, the introduction of GMO crops in Canada, and Mel's transition into organic certification in the late 80's.

While everyone was thoroughly intrigued by the elder farmer's stories and advice, it became quite clear that Mel was hoping to learn just as much from the group of new and transitioning farmers as they were from him. Periodically he would pick folks from the group and insist they tell everyone a bit about their own farming practices. Though it was slow to start, eventually everyone was exchaning tips, tricks and techniques with the group by the end of the night.

When asked if he had plans to retire any time soon, Mel quickly responded that he intends to "farm until 100 and then retire for 30". "After that", he said, "who knows". Here's to you, Mel!