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Inspiration from a fellow farmpreneur – Jean Martin “The Market Gardener”

To dream up East End Market we pulled inspiration from many of the North America’s best markets and food hubs. My urban farming ventures have taken much the same path.

Jean-Martin Fortier - smiling I recently took a trip to Toronto to meet an inspiring farmpreneur named Jean Martin Fortier, aka The Market Gardener, in hopes of learning a few new techniques.

The two workshops I attended put on by FarmStart.ca were incredibly inspiring.  First of all to be surrounded by 60+ fellow and future farmers all focussed on learning to grow sustainably and profitablly was a powerful experience.  Second, Jean-Martin was a refreshingly affaable and informative presenter.  Through a miraid of pictures and stoires, he walked us through his own decade-long farming journey.

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I felt an instant kinship with Jean-Martin.  Neither of us came from an agricultural background, JeanMartin-JohnRife-12x12 yet we both have come to find deep soul nourishment through the mental and manual labor we invest in tending our farms.

I could write a series of blog posts, and perhaps I will, about the time-tested methods he shared for efficiently growing and bringing high quality vegetables to market, but there was a more poigniant realization that I came to while speaking with Jean-Martin that I want to share.

I can sum it up with this quote from “How Should We Live?

“Now that so many people have their basic needs met, there is an appetite for deeper forms of individual satisfaction.  Sociologists have referred to this as the emergence of ‘post-material values’, such as the desire for personal improvement and ethical living, leading many to seek work that nurtures their souls as well as finances the mortgage”

At the Knowlton farmers market Jean-Martin and Maude-Helen, his wife, are bright people that could have chosen from a broad spectrum of potential carrears, yet with great dilligence they have conciously crafted a lifestyle that both provides financially for their family as well as spiritually.  From the teaming life in their soil to the deep relationships they’ve cultivated with their CSA families, the Fortiers live a truly abundant life.

It is a life worth emulating and I’d strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Jean-Martin’s book at your local bookstore or at the Bookmark It (upstairs at East End)

Book Cover

Even if you aren’t a budding urban farmer or market gardener, Jean-Martin’s book is worth a read.  It is a window into a life well lived and a treatise on crafting a lifestyle of yoru choosing, rather than accepting what the status quo has to offer.

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