Shantz Family – Donors

by Community Forests International on December 22, 2013

Aaron, Shelley and young Griffen Shantz moved from Edmonton, Alberta in 2010 to a 50 acre farm and forest near St. Marie, New Brunswick. I visited them recently on their land to see how the family was bucking the trend.


Q: What first attracted you to you to the east coast?

Shelly: We knew we wanted to homestead and try and be self-sufficient. Griffen was about to be born and we wanted a place to call home. We knew from our time in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario that most properties were out of our price range. So we started looking out east. We fell in love with each place we visited! Every one we visited was better than the last. We eventually found this farm and landed here.


Q: What attracted you to CFI?

Aaron: Soon after we bought the property, I started researching the Acadian Forest. I spent my time in the woods in B.C and the two forests types are really different. I’m actually amazed at the diversity and potential of the forest here. Once we saw what CFI was about - working with communities in Pemba to promote sustainable livelihoods, I was hooked. But, what really blew me away was they are willing to do it in New Brunswick too!


Q: Why do you give to CFI?

Shelley: The first reason we give is tied to our faith. We give a portion of what we earn to people and organizations doing good work. We were looking for an organization creating change in our areas of interest; environment and alleviating poverty. CFI is doing it in a way we respect and admire. Getting away from the colonial idea of “saving” people. We have a lot to learn from each other as people... and CFI gets that.


Q: What are your dreams for the east coast? For your life here?

Aaron: For us this was the place to make our dream comes true. We wanted a more self-sufficient lifestyle that was in line with our values. Shelley is focused on food security issues in the community and I'm in the forest when ever I can manage the time. This is where we want Griffen to grow up. Our passions kind of mirror those at CFI. We are doing it at personal level and CFI is working on it at another level.  Forestry is the future of N.B, but we need a better approach.


A regular at our workshops, Aaron continues to help CFI with the GIS mapping of Whaelghinbran Farm and Forest. Thanks to the entire Shantz family for their generous support in helping to realize the Rural Innovation Campus.  Your generosity and dedication continues to motivate and guide our projects here in N.B. and in Pemba, Tanzania. For more on the Rural Innovation Campus, check out this article by the European Union's Global Climate Change Aliance

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