For Kevin and Sarah Feddes, there’s no better life than farm life.
The couple have recently got back to their roots on a 160-acre homestead in Tower Lake, halfway between Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, with its name, Landlust Acres, reflecting the ancestral Feddes farm in Holland.
The farm is home to a mix of animals: pigs, cows, chickens, and sheep, and the Feddes plan to one day grow their farm to 500-head of commercial sheep. But for now, they’re enjoying their modest farm, posting how-to videos and updates on social media. Kevin says their videos began as a way to keep in touch with family back home in Clinton, Ont., but grew into something more.
“At some point I just decided that since we’re out here doing stuff, it doesn’t take much to video tape a little bit here or there," he says. "It’s fun, and I’m starting to edit a little bit, adding an intro and some music."
With a soft spot for animals, Kevin says they’re doing things a lot differently than folks in Clinton. Their animals are raised for meat, eggs, and dairy, but Kevin says they want to give their livestock the best quality of life as possible as he feels that’s the most ethical and honest way to farm.
“When we started our own farm, the two things I wanted to have were pigs and chickens because I’ve seen how they live," he said. "I wanted happy pigs and happy chickens that saw the sun and lived a good life.”
Their gentle touch extends to the animals coming onto the farm, many of which are orphaned calves or lambs purchased from larger farms.
Like many young people, Kevin says he came to the region to chase opportunities in oil and gas in the mid-2000s, and did so for a time. But he always intended to get back to his agricultural roots.
“We’d like to eventually be a moderate size sheep farm and replace our income with sheep farming, and go from there,” he said, noting sheep are easier to handle, and just as valuable as other livestock.
Sarah was born and raised in the North Peace, growing up on a small family farm in Prespatou, with her dad a retired farmer and mechanic. The couple works full-time to sustain their homestead, which is common for many new generation farmers.
"In my growing up, we just had a couple cows, we had a few chickens, so it was fairly small scale. It was mostly what my mum and us kids would do, and dad had the mechanic shop, so it was mostly our project," she says. "But it was nice to grow up that way. You learn where your meat comes from, and you learn the reality between life and death. There's a lot of value in growing up on a farm."
The farm also takes part in the Loop program through Network Ministries, connecting grocery stores with local farms to reduce food waste and use it as feed for livestock instead.
Both enjoy their quiet life and views of the rolling hills of the Peace Country. They say they’ve been fortunate to meet their neighbours, with many offering friendly farming advice.
“We’ve only been here for four years now, but there’s lots of people that are really willing to help in this area and all our neighbours have been great,” said Kevin.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.
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