A different kind of farm family

The intergenerational family farm is a common story, but what makes our family farm story unique is that we are an intercultural and international family farm as well.

This means that each year we open our home to international trainees who are looking for a farm adventure.  So far I have been a host mom to over 25 trainees and I am inspired by their brave and bold pursuit to learn what agriculture can look like in different parts of the world.  These young people come into our home as strangers and leave as family. They are “brothers” to our girls, they return to visit, and their friends and family come to meet their “Canadian family”.

I am inspired to be more adventurous and inquisitive when I see their energy for travel.  I am more reflective of our practices because trainees notice differences or ask about why we do things the way that we do.  Each year I gain a broader perspective than I had the year before, because trainees expose me to new and different ideas. However, they also solidify and reaffirm what I believe to be the core essence of agriculture.  Farmers are stewards of the land to supply food for the world.  We are bonded by that ultimate purpose.

I love that my girls get to see how ag brings people together.  We host trainees because we are rooted in ag; we love it and we want to share it, to learn, and to teach others about what ag looks like for us.

BMO Farm Family Award

The 2019 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is finished… but the memories are still going strong!

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We would like to say a big THANK YOU to

  • Walter, our BMO host and award presenter, for showing us a great day and being such a flexible and fun host. Of course, a big thank you to BMO for sponsoring this award and for their support of agriculture.

  • Karen, the Provincial Exhibition Marketing and Communications Manager, for answering our questions and ensuring that our day ran smoothly

  • Dan and Brydan, the ACC Interactive Media Arts students who produced the jumbo-tron video for the presentation, for being such good sports about keeping us with us in the petting zoo area! They also did a really great job of capturing our family and our farm! If you missed the video, you can watch it here.

By my toil I believe that I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, and honor that does not come to all men.
— John Nason - The Farmers Creed

BMO Farm Family Award

The BMO Farm Family Award is being presented at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, March 25-29, 2019. This year six farms have been chosen as recipients for the award, including Vallotton Farms Ltd. The six farms selected represent many sectors of agriculture, including fruits and vegetables, grain and beef. We are honored to share this award with such great company.

Thanks to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and BMO for promoting agriculture in our community and province!

You can learn more about the BMO Farm Family Award recipients at their websites (below) or by visiting the fair. Each evening the recipients will be at the TD Ag Action stage at 5:15pm to share about their farming operation and then will be presented their award during the evening program in the main arena. We would appreciate your support on Wednesday and would love to see you at the fair!

Mayfair Farms - Monday

HTA Charolais - Tuesday

Vallotton Farms - Wednesday

Froese Family Farm - Thursday

Batho Farms - Friday

Southern Manitoba Potato Co. - Saturday

We're at our family gathering - now what?

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After the meal is eaten and the gifts are opened are you looking for something to do? Perhaps you have not gotten that far yet. Maybe the turkey is taking a bit longer than expected. Or your uncle is late. Or the dogs got into the kitchen. Or your brother got stuck in the snowbank by the train tracks. Or your grandma got run over by a reindeer. Whatever it was, you have some time to fill.

We’ve got you covered. Get your family moving and laughing with our Christmas scavenger hunts. Print directly from the images below or email us at teresa@farmfemmes.com to get your own PDF copies.

RULES:

  • Find the items (person, place or thing).  Be creative!

  • Capture proof of your find by taking a selfie with the item.

  • You may choose to include more than one item in a single photo.

  • One point will be awarded for each item photographed.

  • One bonus point will be awarded for each photo that includes the item and ALL team members.

  • All team members must report to the home point at the end of the time limit.

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Farmily - Celebrating Family Farms

At the Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference, we were lucky enough to launch our latest YouTube video - all about our FARMILY. The combination of farm and family is real - and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Check out the video and share the link with everyone in your FARMILY… The people who ride in your buddy seat, bring meals to the field, run for parts, get up early, stay up late and are by your side no matter what.


Subscribe to our channel to keep up with all of our newest content.

Best of Farm Femmes: Reflections of a Host Mom

Originally posted in November 2017

It is time for me to try to capture what it feels like to be a host mom… First, I feel way too young to be a mom to our trainees – I would totally prefer to be a cool older sister.  But, putting that aside…

Each year we open up our home to strangers and they become family.  It isn’t an easy process… We don’t have a huge house so you can forget about privacy, and it takes a while to figure out how “on” you have to be all of the time.  This pertains to superficial things, like when everyone wakes up in the middle of the night because of a huge thunderstorm, is it okay to be seen wearing PJs? But it also pertains to heavier things, like conversations about budget, work or family.  We are constantly negotiating how much of this conversation happens in front of trainees and how much is just husband/wife…, which goes back to privacy, and finding the time for those more private conversations.

Having trainees in our home every year also influences how we raise our girls.  They have a totally different expectations with regard to attachments, brothers and what it means to be a family.  It is always fun to see the reaction when they explain to people that they got a new brother yesterday! And the girls are still negotiating what it means for brothers to arrive and leave – this year we had two brother Michaels for a time and that was entertaining.  About a day after Andre left this year our oldest asked, “When do we get more brothers?” Whew… I need a bit more of a break than that!

Our trainees are much more than simply employees.  I like to think that we teach them way more than just about Canadian living or life on the farm.  Some have never been away from home before – never done their own laundry or realized you have to make an effort in long-distance relationships if you want to stay in them.  Some have picked up a few new favorite recipes and cooking tips along the way, not to mention learning about child development, hair extensions and work-life balance. I am sure that they get more “sage wisdom” from me than they ever bargained for, or perhaps wanted!  Being a mom of five is hard work! When November rolls around, I am ready for a break. And ready to have leftovers in the fridge!

Living with trainees has been a seven-year adjustment for me.  It is different every year. The trainees who lived with us when I was pregnant had a very different experience than those pre-kids and those this year where the girls are more independent.  And, our trainees next year will have another different experience as they meet each other, and our ever-changing family. Even though we have a few months as a family of four, we are already in the process of getting trainee placements for next year – April is just around the corner.



Happy Thanksgiving!

We enjoyed a weekend full of Thanksgiving celebrations and I hope that you did too. I hope that everyone takes time to think about what they are thankful for. And, perhaps most importantly, take time to think about WHO you are thankful for - then tell them!

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One of the best things that I learned in my years as a teacher is the power of being specific with your positive comments. It is great to shower your loved ones with kind words, words of thanks and words of appreciation. It is even better when you take the time to include a specific example of when or why they are a great organizer, someone who can make you laugh, a wonderful cook, a thoughtful gift giver or a supportive motivator.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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FarmFemmes is One!

One year ago we started posting our thoughts about agriculture, from a uniquely woman's perspective.  We have posted about serious topics, and not-so-serious topics.  We are passionate about technology, safety and balancing family life.  We have shared personal stories of our own experiences and shared the stories of others who we have met along the way.

Thanks to our readers, followers and supporters (in over 20 countries) for encouraging us to share the realities of women in modern agriculture.

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