It takes a large amount of effort to tackle food insecurity, but a small scale farm is hoping to be part of the solution.
Felix Pozojevic is a first-generation farmer and owner of The Cabbage Patch Farm. With a passion for growing things, they got into the industry to help food security in a sustainable manner.
“Before I got into horticulture, I had no interest in horticulture,” said Pozojevic, “I never paid attention to plants, I never really paid attention to food and where it was from, and once I started getting into the industry, I started looking at things through a different lens.”
The Cabbage Patch Farm is a no-spray farm which uses well water and rainwater. It is made possible through community supported agriculture (CSA). It is a program which allows community members to buy a number of shares in a farm in advance that they receive during the growing season.
Pozojevic said this type of smart crop planning allows them to plan all the produce they need to grow. Any produce that isn't sold will be donated to the Guelph Food Bank or community fridges.
"I know what I'm planting instead of planting as much as possible," said Pozojevic about smart crop planning.
When planning for the growing season, Pozojevic said they usually leave 30 per cent of their crop for emergencies. As much as farming is a business, they said sometimes people can't access fresh food.
"I'm not just trying to feed people who can financially afford it, I'm trying to feed everyone," said Pozojevic.
Prior to The Cabbage Patch Farm, Pozojevic was working for a commercial greenhouse in Uxbridge. At the commercial greenhouse, Pozojevic said they became discouraged by all the waste they were seeing.
“These commercial greenhouses, just the waste is astronomical, and I didn’t know how to stomach it, and I felt really responsible for being kind of a cog in that wheel. It’s just a lot of behind the scenes that consumers don’t know,” they said.
“I love growing plants, and I thought, ‘There has to be a better way,’ and then I saw a job posting for a farm assistant, and the rest is kind of history.”
Enjoying the experience of working on a farm, Pozojevic decided to go back to school to pursue a horticultural diploma. Doing both over the course of three years, Pozojevic said it quickly became their whole life.
Last year, Pozojevic connected with an investor, who offered to help them develop a half acre of growing space on a farm in Puslinch. This is how The Cabbage Patch Farm came to be.
“It came at a really good time in my life,” they said about the opportunity.
The transition from working at a large commercial greenhouse to a small-scale organic farm was a bit of a learning curve for Pozojevic.
“In the beginning it felt overwhelming, horticulture and agriculture is one of those industries where you won’t know everything,” said Pozojevic about navigating as a first-generation farmer and not having family already in the industry. "Through the years, you gain that experience from other people who fill those roles.”
Despite this, they add being a first-generation farmer is also very rewarding, as their work has helped their family realize their capabilities to grow fresh produce in a sustainable manner.
“Seeing my family integrate that (ideology) has been really rewarding for me,” said Pozojevic. “It makes it feel like it’s more accessible for them.”
Having planted themselves in Guelph, Pozojevic said this is a good community to operate in and are seeing a lot of support from local businesses. Their overarching goal for The Cabbage Patch Farm is year-round production of fresh produce.
To learn more about The Cabbage Patch Farm, check out its website.