This Toronto couple is fundraising so they can leave town and become farmers
Angel Beyde and Raph Beaulieu's dream is simple: leave the city, start an organic farm and feed Toronto.
But with land prices continually skyrocketing since they started looking for a property for what they call Good Fortune Farmstead last summer, the Toronto couple realized they wouldn't be able to make that dream a reality on their own.
"We hit a point where we started to lose heart, which is really hard to feel when you've been nursing this seedling for so many years with so much love and joy and excitement," Beyde told blogTO.
The pair of aspiring full-time farmers started a fundraiser to ask for help from the community, and so far they've raised $8,500 toward their $30k goal since it was posted April 30.
The GoFundMe reads: "Your contribution to our Farm Seed Fund will help grow many exciting things: The down payment on a 3-10 acre property (within 2 hours east of Toronto), start-up costs for farm equipment such as walk-behind BCS tractor, seeders, hand tools and farm infrastructure such as irrigation, wash/pack house, walk-in cooler, farm stand."
Beyde and Beaulieu have plans to sell what they grow to farmers' markets in the city and from a stand at the farm for locals while also offering opportunities for community-shared agriculture (CSA) shares and food baskets to those interested.
Their ideal location for the human-scale community farm is Northumberland County, two hours east of Toronto.
"Why we're working so hard to try to find a farm property that's no more than two hours from Toronto is that we want it to be sustainable for us to really support our community here in Toronto with good food," says Beyde.
They also plan to focus on providing more opportunities to Black growers and offer subsidized educational programs and workshops to BIPOC youth and adults.
This is close to Beyde's heart as owning the farm will put her in the small two per cent of Black farm owners in North America.
The couple, who met while living in Montreal in 2006, have been saving all they can and dreaming up the perfect farm since Beyde brought it up with Beaulieu six years ago.
"It just suddenly seemed so obvious, like it's a way to combine my biggest loves, feeding people, growing plants and being in nature," Beyde says. "I also just really wanted to be of service and bring something positive to the issues that compel me the most."
Beaulieu, who's always worked with his hands and secretly also shared in the farm fantasy, was on board from the start.
"It was a no-brainer," he says. "Angel is definitely the brains and heart of the operation, and I enjoy doing the hard work."
Beyde, who has worked in Urban Agriculture for organizations like the Stop Community Food Centre and does anti-racism in agriculture consulting for the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, and Beaulieu, a full-time translator, are still looking for the perfect piece of land.
Good Fortune Farmstead
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