My current journey begins about seven years ago in March of 2012 when my grandfather’s health began to fail. The old farmhouse in which my grandparents had lived, in which my father grew up, was more than he could handle. I left my job as a merchandiser for Loblaws and moved back to the farm with a plan and a dream.

That spring I started Maplemarsh Farm, a market garden business where I grew and sold vegetables at the local farmers’ market and to a local nursing home. Over the next few years, the business grew from half-an-acre of working land to more than 3 acres.

Back in my hometown I began to get involved in all of the things I had missed out on when I was young. I joined the board of directors of two very special local not-for-profits: the all-volunteer radio station CJAI 92.1 FM, and The Back Kitchen, our community-owned restaurant. I became the editor of the monthly newsletter The Amherst Island Beacon; helped found the Amherst Island Community Alliance, which aims to market the island community to the broader world; and assumed the position of exhibits coordinator of the Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre.

In my community I am seen as a leader, and that is what has led me to the latest step in my journey. This fall, at the end of The Back Kitchen’s summer season, I went back to school. I joined the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at St. Lawrence College with the aim to learn and build on skills that will help me serve my community now and into the future. I hope to get new ideas and perspectives that will help me put the polish on the beautiful gem of Lake Ontario that is Amherst Island.