This February, Pine View Farms will celebrate 23 years of farming and food! We moved here when I was nine months pregnant with our first son, Liam. Our sons and the farm have grown up together --- what a whirlwind time of our lives.
This year, as I worked on our annual budget and farm plans in early January, I didn’t feel as enthusiastic as I usually do about the year ahead. I was just going through the motions, feeling angst and aimless.
Maybe Covid-induced “acedia” finally caught up with me. Acedia is that "state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one's position or condition in the world."
As an Enneagram 3 and a strong Type A, this apathy is NOT normal. I have checklists, plans and goals for everything and I love checking the boxes! In my usual fashion, I set a goal to fix the situation . . .
One morning, while sweating it out on the elliptical trainer, I started listening to Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast interview with Jim Collins where they discussed what makes a business a great enduring company.
That podcast cut to the meat of the matter (no pun intended).
You see, we’ve been farming for 23 years. Our business is maturing. Our sons are grown and flown. We’re not sexy anymore (as if we ever were!). BUT, our journey is not done either! What do the next chapters hold for Kevin, Melanie and Pine View Farms? Can we be an enduring enterprise into the future?
Back in 1998, our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) was to create a sustainable farm--- economically, environmentally and socially. We learned hard lessons through parching droughts, plagues of grasshoppers and depressed grain prices, and knew that survival meant change.
Sustainability became our word . . . and then things started to happen.
At the time, we were on the brink of extinction, and believe me, fear breeds determination, which births commitment. We worked and scraped and transformed our farm from a traditional grain and cattle farm into a farm-to-fork meat business, forming the basis of what you see today.
Another BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) was Souleio Foods, which opened in Saskatoon in 2009. It was a brilliant idea ---- the first artisanal, farm-to-fork market and restaurant in Saskatchewan.
Again, we built on the sustainability concept --- partnering with chefs, farmers and the community to bring food directly from the farm to the people of Saskatoon. [The tale of Souleio is one for the books, and maybe one day, I’ll write it, but suffice it to say, Souleio was ahead of its time and we closed it in 2013. We’d like to think that maybe Souleio had a small role in laying the foundation for the indie-chef culinary scene that thrives in Saskatoon today.]
In 2010, we added our red meat cutting and sausage kitchen to our farm processing facility so that we could be more creative with meat cuts and clean sausage recipes.
In 2018, we converted all our poultry feed to a customized GMO-free ration.
In 2019, our BHAG was a solar installation to generate 25% of our electricity from the sun--- part of our farm’s long term sustainability legacy.
Our most recent 2020 BHAG was the launch of our new website and virtual store as we adapted to the way consumers shop and spend their time.
Now, in January 2021, in the middle of a pandemic, do our core values still hold? Does our purpose remain true? After a few fireside chats with Kevin, we answered a resounding YES!
At the core of Pine View Farms, we know that our values have not changed. They are our North Star:
We believe that in whatever we do, it must be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable for the farmer, the customer, the environment and our wider community.
We believe in doing the right thing, not the easy thing.
We believe in quality over quantity. We believe in an honest day’s work.
We believe that people deserve to know where their food comes from and how it was produced.
We believe that food should look and taste delicious.
We believe that we build community by breaking bread together.
All of these values unite as “We serve people by giving them an authentic connection to their food.”
Even in a pandemic where conditions change rapidly and we feel pulled in a million directions, the basics of running a good business remains constant if we are rooted in our beliefs.
We make meat for a local market, and we’re really, really good at it.
As we preserve the core of Pine View Farms, we also seek to continuously adapt, improve and renew what we do every day.
In Year Twenty Three and beyond, we want to be a leader in building a sustainable food system in Saskatchewan and Canada.
Turns out, I just needed a reminder of where we’ve been, where we’re going and WHY. . . now back to work!