Starting a farm and living the happy farm life. A conversation with farmer Shannon Jones. (PVP043)

“It feels really good to do what you wanted to do and to be able to create the dream that you had in your head. And I think more people regret things that they didn’t do than the things that they did do.”Shannon Jones

Shannon Jones, a young farmer from River Hebert, Nova Scotia joins me to talk about what it is like to be a young farmer on her farm, Broadfork Farm.  She started the farm with her partner Bryan Dyck in 2011.

Both Shannon and Bryan farmed on other farms for many years before they started their own farm.  The lived simply and knew what they could get by without.  That made the transition to farming a lot easier.  Their path of frugality is one path into farming.  But like Shannon said, find what works for you and don’t just copy what someone else did.

At the end of the day it is very clear that Shannon loves what she does.  Living her dream, working her dream job, as part of the next generation of farmers.



“What do you do well, what is your personality like, and how can you minimize the weaknesses that you have?”Shannon Jones


Key Takeaways:

  • What can you get by without.  It is easy to spend money, and when you don’t have a lot, getting by with just enough is important.
  • If leasing land have a written agreement.
  • New farm.  Build infrastructure accordingly.  Inexpensive, easily modified, movable infrastructure.  Make it more permanent as you see mistakes and how it can be improved.
  • Limited capital?  Address bottlenecks.
  • Do what works for you. Don’t just emulate success blindly.  It may not be a fit for you.
  • Keep really good records.  Do the books in slow times.  Quickbooks
  • Organic Certification?  Get certified if your business will benefit from it.  Some customers who know how you run  your farm won’t care if you are certified or not, because they know that you farm organic or better.
  • Sprays (organic or not) are not fixing the problem of having ‘pests’.  It is a temporary band aid solution.  Spraying this year doesn’t mean that you won’t have pests later on.
  • Starting out – GET EXPERIENCE.  Focus on what you can learn.  Find a mentor.
  • Make time to enjoy the farm and not be working all of the time.  Make time to enjoy life, your friends, and family.



  • “Almost any farm can succeed when the farm business owners are thinking about their strengths, weaknesses, their personalities – what they like to do and what they don’t like to do and incorporating that into what they do.”
  • “What do you do well, what is your personality like, and how can you minimize the weaknesses that you have.”
  •  “We are farming for a set of values, we wanted to create a farm around that.”
  • “It feels really good to do what you wanted to do and to be able to create the dream that you had in your head, and I think more people regret things that they didn’t do than the things that they did do.”




Market Food Club:

How it works:

  • Like a gift card, you pay in advance. Sign up in the form below, choosing from any hundred dollar increment.
  • Payment can be made by email transfer 
  • You come to the Dieppe Market on Saturdays between 7 am and 1:30 pm.
  • You choose whatever you want from our stand.
  • We take the value of your produce each week off your tab.
  • Your tab lasts until you run out or on Dec.31. If you still have a credit by the end of the year, you can use it to get bulk storage vegetables or donate the rest to the local food bank.
  • We give you 5% extra on your tab to spend. $100 gives you $5 extra dollars, $500 gives you $25 extra dollars.

The Benefits:

  • You can leave your cash at home. You’ve already paid!
  • Complete freedom to choose what you like, in the amounts you like each week.
  • Flexibility. No need to tell us in advance if you’re going on vacation or if you have guests and need more produce than usual.
  • Bonus 5% extra vegetables.
  • Know where your food comes from. You’ll develop a stronger connection with your farmers through your commitment to the farm.
  • Help shape what we grow. We’ll ask what you love and fine tune what we grow each year based on your tastes.
  • Invitations to come to the farm for farm tours, potlucks, and workshops.
  • Help build a stronger local economy.
  • Support young local organic farmers.

Broadfork Farm’s Market Food Club


Selling at Farmers Markets:

  • Realize the importance of displaying items nicely. 
  • Highlight the vegetables themselves.
  • Use table clothes that go to the ground.  Hides things underneath.
  • Be sure that you and your vegetables look clean.  That increases the confidence of potential customers.
  • Sell what people want or be prepared to spent a lot of time potentially educating the customer base.
  • Grow what you like to grow, what you are best at growing, and what grows well, while satisfying customer demand.






Buying a Farm: A Case Study



nova-scotia-farm-loan-board-316x156Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board





More information on Broadfork Farm.

Broadfork Farm

Broadfork Farm on Facebook

You can contact Shannon and Bryan via  broadforkfarm at gmail dot com




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Comments 3

  1. Another great episode! So much useful information here per usual! I love the work you do Diego. Thank you to Shannon for sharing such valuable insight!

    1. Post

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