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Three farm families, five years later

Country Guide revisits three young Manitoba farm families building their future in agriculture

From clockwise at left: Riley and Lee-Anne Kemp, Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek, and Wayne and Maria McDonald of Manitoba.

In 2012, Country Guide discovered a cluster of young farmers near out-of-the-way Cartwright, Man. They were all searching for ways to start small in the heart of big-farm Canada, and they all saw their best chance in a combination of direct marketing and holistic practices.

To some readers, it seemed like a dream. To others, more like a fantasy. Five years later, though, these families are still farming, and they’re mostly loving it, even if they may have had to jettison some of their loftier ideas along the way.

Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek

Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek. photo: Sandy Black

Back in 2012, Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek’s biggest goal was to quit their off-farm jobs and farm full time. It’s something that Stozek has more or less managed to do, although Schram still works part-time at her parents’ ranch supply store.

Schram and Stozek originally established Fresh Roots Farm as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business selling mainly chicken and vegetables to local and Winnipeg customers.

Riley and Lee-Anne Kemp

Riley and Lee-Anne Kemp. photo: Sandy Black

In the five years since Country Guide last caught up with Riley and Lee-Anne Kemp, their lives have become even more hectic.

For starters, their family has grown to three children — six-year-old Lexi, three-year-old Elliot and Halle, who just turned six months old. Riley still works off farm as a teacher at the local school, while Lee-Anne has ventured into her own physiotherapy practice in the area.

Wayne and Maria McDonald

Wayne and Maria McDonald. photo: Sandy Black

Wayne McDonald has never had a job off the farm and admits that he has no idea what nine-to-five is all about. That’s the way he likes it.

Now, thanks to some hard work and their very dedicated focus, he and wife Maria have managed to achieve one of the key goals they set themselves five years ago, which was to create a way that both could work full time on their third-generation family farm.

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Angela Lovell

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