Editor's note: In Context is a new series designed to inform and educate you on Heifer's work in each country we have a presence. Every two weeks we'll tackle a different country and examine unique situations related to hunger and poverty, how Heifer works to address them as well as take some time to explore local culture and traditions.
Photo by Heifer Canada Kalynn Spain and her horse
Kalynn Spain’s passion and enthusiasm for farming isirresistible. In 2009, her uncle helpedto set her farm plans in motion when he offered her space to farm on his landin Manitoba. But for Kalynn, her dreambegan much earlier. “As a kid, I alwayswanted to live in the country. All of mypaintings and drawings were pictures of horses, pigs, and farmyards. That’s where it all started,” Kalynn laughs.
In 2011, Kalynn registered for the Exploring Your Small FarmDream course, offered by the Manitoba Farm Mentorship Program. The course helps aspiring farmers decide ifrunning a farm business is right for them. When asked how it has helped her, Kalynn says, “One thing that reallystuck out for me was quality of life. You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your land,your animals, and your family.” Thecourse confirmed for Kalynn that farming is her future and inspired her tobegin acquiring start-up resources and gathering people around her to help herfulfill her dream.
After completing the Exploring Your Small Farm Dream course,Kalynn was provided with an internship opportunity through the Manitoba FarmMentorship Program. This initiativeconnects aspiring farmers with experienced mentors and contributes to costsassociated with farmer training. Inreturn for the training she received through the Manitoba Farm MentorshipProgram, Kalynn passed on the gift by interning for 13 weeks on two mentorfarms. The internship helped hone herskills and further develop her farm plans. “I see my farm being very mixed,” Kalynn says about her farm dream, “Isee vegetables. I see chickens and pigsfor sure… After spending a summer on acattle farm, I’m not sure about having cattle, but it’s good that theexperience showed me that early on.”
The Manitoba Farm Mentorship Program is a Heifer Canadaproject that provides training, networking, and resources for new and aspiringfarmers in Manitoba. Kalynn is one of 16interns, 30 Explorer course participants, and over 750 people who have attendedManitoba Farm Mentorship Program courses, workshops, farm tours and othertraining events.
Kalynn’s involvement in the Manitoba Farm Mentorship Programhas only increased her passion for growing and raising food. “It’s changed from a romantic dream tofeeling that it’s something young people should be doing. It will make me happy. I will be contributing to society andimpacting people’s lives.”
“I want to be a role model,” Kalynn says. “I think we need to engage more youngpeople. My generation needs to considerfarming as a career, consider its impact, and realize they can actually doit.”