Looking back at Whaelghinbran Farm

by Community Forests International on February 24, 2014

It's been two years since Ryan, Nick, Aviva, Heather and I signed up to be the first batch of CFI apprentices at Whaelghinbran Farm. In January, I returned to the farm to visit our mentor, Susan, for the first time since the apprenticeship ended and I was shocked at how, being back in that space, my mind was completely flooded by memories of my six months living and working there.

I really shouldn't find that shocking. For six months, we lived intensively on the land, in the forest and in Clark and Susan's home. Being in those places again, touchstones of our time there were everywhere I looked; Aviva's favourite tree, Ryan's to-do lists, Gavin's trailer, the maple syrup in my coffee, and the pan where our lunches of Nick-fried-rice (containing every vegetable grown on the farm and who knows what else) were concocted.


On the bridge that crosses the brook, I remembered the day in September when its water started running again after the summer's long drought. I was the first one to the yurt that night and as I walked toward the bridge in complete darkness, I heard the sound of the brook. It's seemed impossibly loud after having been completely dry and silent for so long. I went to bed with feelings of joy and relief. Heather, the second person to leave Susan's kitchen table and head to the yurt, shared my exact experience just minutes later. She, however, expressed her joy by entering the dark yurt dancing and singing about the brook's miraculous return. She tried to lie down and go to sleep but kept leaping up to continue her ecstatic routine.

The brook represented life on the farm. Crossing it was the first thing we'd do in the morning and the last thing in the evening. It signified the water we needed for our crops to grow and for our swimming hole to be full again. It gave us the most delicious wild mint I've ever tasted.

I feel such a strong bond to that small waterway and to the innumerable places and people that make up Whaelghinbran Farm. For that, I am incredibly grateful.


Hannah Hunter is currently the Farm Manager at Fresh City Farms.

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