A Quarter of a Century
Some highlights of a long-term relationship with Sunnivue Farm and the ROSE Land Trust:
Since the foundation of The ROSE Land Trust in 1992, a quarter of a century ago, I have been privileged with the opportunity to enjoy the 180-acre farm known as Sunnivue held by the ROSE land trust, a not for profit organization. The privileges include: purchasing organically grown food while drinking coffee and chatting with friends and fellow shoppers on the store porch, participating in community celebrations and farm related work, taking my city raised grandchildren to experience the country, the farm animals and farm activities, participating on event committees, and serving as a board trustee during the last six years.
Having grown up on a small mixed farm in a rural Ontario community I have appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with my farm community roots. I am grateful to the founding visionaries 25 years ago whose goals included making affordable land available for farmers to grow healthy food economically by turning the land into a non-profit commodity. I am also grateful that the vision included the concept of a Community Land Trust where urban and rural families could unite.
Special Personal Farm Experiences with My Grandchildren
My oldest granddaughter was born in 1991, the year before the founding of ROSE. I have good memories of afternoons spent on the farm with her. Jessica played in the natural space and climbed trees (sometimes with a friend) while I helped Ellinor prepare tomatoes for drying or fruit and vegetables for preserving. Jessica and I usually visited the barn to check on baby calves and often walked down the lane behind the barn to the river before going home.
My younger Ottawa grandchildren always ask if they can go to see the animals when they come to London for their summer visit. This summer they visited the chickens and turkeys, helped Uncle Chris in the farm store, ate a picnic lunch beside the store and were thrilled to have a tractor ride.
Many school classes from schools in Michigan and Ontario have visited the farm since 1992. Some classes spent a day while others camped for a week for a prolonged farm experience. I accompanied Jessica's class in the late 1990's on a couple of day trips with teacher Merwin Lewis. The experience included feeding the chickens and calves, collecting eggs, watching the milking and feeding the cows. Some children even tried hand milking one of the gentle cows.
It has become traditional for the Grade 3 class from the London Waldorf School to grow their own pumpkins as a fundraiser. This project requires several class trips to plant, care for and harvest the crop.
The Nurnbergs’ guest book indicates that a total of 824 guests from 15 different countries stayed with them in the farm house during their 24 years of Community Farming.
Some visitors stayed for one day while others stayed for several months. These guests include WWOOFers, students, friends and acquaintances. Some of the young people were going through a rough patch in their lives, and benefited greatly from assuming responsibility on the farm.
The visitors also include families who came for farm holidays in the early days, a vacation fund raiser initiated by the Nurnbergs which raised money to help pay off the mortgage on the land trust property. School classes were counted as one visitor, so the total of individual visitors was much higher. I was always appreciative when lucky enough to have a chance encounter with a new face and personality from near or far, yet another way in which this project created links among people and broadened our horizons.