The Farmers

Jesse, Head Farmer

jesse poo foo
Photo credit: Nate Clark

Following in the gum boot steps of Ma and Grandpa, Jess likes to get his hands dirty. It all started with picking cherry tomatoes with Mom in her veggie garden 28 years ago. Over the past 15 years Jess has sought to learn and expand on the lessons passed down from generations before.

Jess started his first business in the gardening industry in 2006, where he began  to hone the skills necessary to oversee a wide spectrum of creative garden projects, each with their own unique challenges. Over this period, in his off time, Jess began his part time relationship with the Mason Street City Farm. Passion for food cultivation and a deeper awareness of the challenges our dominant food system faces were the fruits of volunteering here alongside Angela Moran, who ran the farm previously.

This awakening lead Jesse to abundant fertile lands. In 2012 he was accepted into the 8 month Skill Builder Program at the Bullocks homestead on Orcas island. Here Jesse gained a deeper reverence for the interconnected and self managing structures of nature. Jesse seeks to integrate  these lessons towards evolving the systems humans require to thrive. He feels it is an endeavor for many hands and many minds.

Jesse is now realizing his dream of co-stewarding an innovative community urban farm project  in the heart of Victoria BC.

jj in a tree
Photo credit: James Most

JJ, Nursery Manager

JJ is an established transplant to the West Coast from the concrete jungle known as Toronto. Like most urban folks she has roots in farming communities, with her mother growing up on a tomato farm in Southern Ontario and grandparents on both sides of the family hailing from Eastern European farm communities where growing your own food organically was just how things were done.

After finishing University, JJ became motivated by a desire to learn more about our complex food system. Ten years ago she began traveling and working on farms, gaining experience in Mexico and BC before settling in Washington State at the Bullock’s Permaculture Farm & Nursery for three years to learn the art of living on the land. In 2015, she took the opportunity to help Mason St. Farm start it’s Edible Nursery in earnest and has been working with volunteers and community members to grow luscious plants ever since!

As a settler on these lands, JJ also works to deepen her knowledge of local Indigenous food systems, plants and projects. She sees the decolonization of our food system as a crucial piece of food justice, and the foundation for a healthier, more abundant future!

Christine, Farmer Extraordinaire

xtine farm queen 2Growing up in rural Southern Ontario, at the ripe age of 7 Christine started her first vegetable garden.  A small patch next to the kitchen was lovingly tended for years and slowly expanded into the yard as new crops came onto the radar of this young food grower.

At 19 years old Christine became dissatisfied with her schooling and began to question her pursuits in life. Christine traveled to New Zealand for a year where she met Matua, a dear Maori friend.

During their time together Christine saw how Matua was caring for his community with the food he grew and how the community was caring for him in turn.  This experience, and this friendship brought to fruition Christine’s dreams of belonging and community building. From this point onward it was obvious that her path forward was land stewardship and small scale agriculture.

Returning to Canada, Christine finished her degree at the University of Guelph and then moved to Vancouver Island for the longer growing season and milder winters.

After completing two farming apprenticeships Christine became active in the urban food scene of Victoria. Working first with City Harvest Cooperative, she became instrumental in setting up school gardens throughout Victoria.  During this time she met both Jesse and JJ and transitioned her skills and passions to Mason Street Farm. As a young person passionate about food production, community building, and sharing farm knowledge, urban food growing has proven to be the crux of these passions.

During her off season Christine is involved with food sovereignty work around the world. Setting up food forests, community gardens, and running volunteer farm programs she has been able to build community around the world and gather knowledge from far and wide to help feed her curiosity and passion of plant cultivation.

There isn’t a day that goes by where Christine isn’t grateful for all she has learned from Matua and her farming mentors.