If you are looking for the mushroom business, please go to http://www.fungiakuafo.com
What do we do
We believe we need to help each other, create community, share what we learn and be open to learning from others.
Akesi Farms is (very) cold. We are in plant hardiness zone 2B. (http://planthardiness.gc.ca/) Our elevation is around 1275m or ~4,200 ft. This imposes unique challenges and opportunities for growing food.
In this spirit, Akesi Farms maintains:
Current farm products
- Bees (honey)
- Chicken Eggs (may start again in the future)
- Market Vegetables (potatoes, rhubarb, garlic, tomatoes)
- Mushroom spawn (http://www.fungiakuafo.com)
Future farm products
- Food forest products (apples, plums, berries, and nuts)
Meghan and Kwesi
We met in 2005 and married in 2007. Kwesi worked in IT until the spring of 2014 when he decided that the office was no longer where he wanted to be! That summer, Kwesi volunteered at two different farms to see what it was like. Kwesi now runs the farm full time (i.e. ALL the time!) while Meghan continues to work in IT and helps with the farm evenings and weekends.
Kwesi was born in Ghana and immigrated to Canada in the early 90’s. Kwesi has a BSc and MSc in Computer Sciences.
Meghan was born and grew up in Calgary. Meghan completed a BSc in Biological Sciences and then a certificate as an IT Professional in 2002.
Our journey starts with travel…
Both of us had traveled extensively before we met and continued to travel together. We went to Asia, South America, Europe, West Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and lots of places in Canada. Over our first 6 years of marriage, we traveled the equivalent of 8 months! We loved it. We are very grateful for all the opportunities we had and the places we saw that you can no longer visit today due to conflict.
The best parts about travelling:
- minimal baggage (just your backpack!)
- being outside
- your daily tasks include: what we do eat? where do we sleep? how do we get to the next place?
- everyday is a new adventure
Every time we got back from travelling, we felt the need to change our lives. Going to work every day and living “for the holidays” seemed shallow. We spent all our time in the city either planning our next vacation or going to events. We were “caught up”.
We knew something big was about to change but didn’t know exactly what! We had a list of ideas but “farming” wasn’t on that list…
We started biking and walking everywhere. We started connecting with farmers. We starting asking a LOT of questions about where “stuff” and “food” comes from. We got involved in a community garden. In travelling our own backyard and other backyards, we knew the environmental impact of our choices was massive. The cheap food and goods we were buying were really being paid for by others through water misuse, pollution, loss of habitat etc. We managed to get our garbage down to a small bag a month and even reduced our recycling to a similar amount. But, it seemed peanuts to what we could do.
In 2009, Meghan went back to school to do a BA in Development Studies. It took four years of part time studies but together, we learned a lot. Although Meghan was writing the research papers, Kwesi was editing and reading along! Together we solidified what we already knew. The world is intensely interconnected and our choices DO have impacts on others. And, we have the power to change how we live. We learned a lot of new vocabulary and maybe too much about how big corporations and giant non-profits see the world. You can’t unlearn what you learn.
So, back to the beginning. What do we have the power to control and what do we not?
When you meet people who have a totally different way of living than you, you suddenly realize that there are so many possibilities in the world. We met farmers. And, becoming farmers all of a sudden became possible. After all, if they are doing it, maybe we can?
(This isn’t to say that we think we “know” how to farm. All we know is how to try!)
In May 2014, Meghan and Kwesi went to Gimli, Manitoba to attend a workshop with Sepp Holzer. It was a great experience and we were the only ones there who didn’t own land or a farm! Maybe that was the beginning? The idea? We aren’t really sure…
What we know for sure is that on September 7, 2014, we put in an offer to buy what is now Akesi Farms. We had to wait until we had cell phone reception on the drive out but that’s when we made the offer. To this day, we say we “impulse” bought a farm!
What does Akesi mean?
In Fante, a language in the group of Akan languages, Akesi means “Great” or “Big” things. The idea for the name came from Kwesi’s sister.
Why a farm?
Sometimes we still ask ourselves that question! Honestly, we aren’t sure we have a specific reason why we bought a farm. We were looking to do something different and we had a long list of ideas. We had talked about travelling part of the year, volunteering someplace else for half the year and working the rest. We didn’t know if we should become more tied down to a place or less! The idea of living out of a backpack again was appealing but also seemed to lack an opportunity for the deep connections we wanted to make with those around us.
By time 2014 rolled around, we had already been buying most of our food direct from farmers for a few years. We loved talking to “our” farmers and the fantastic stories they had to tell. Kwesi loves working with tools and building so it seemed a more physical lifestyle was appropriate. Meghan was also looking a way to spend more time outside and to have pets.
Moving to a rural area has been one enormous challenge after another. We knew we had a lot to learn but it’s only when you start learning that you realize how little you know… We didn’t know about wells, septic tanks, big dogs, chickens, geese, pasture, wild animals, water pressure tanks, hydrants, etc…
We have met lots of new people and continue to maintain friendships! One amazing thing about living away is that when people come to visit, then spend the whole day with you! You get time to find out how they are doing and really talk. We didn’t get that in the city.
We now drive a lot. We went from almost not driving to driving everywhere. That’s probably the only downside to living at the end of the road.
Thank you for taking this journey with us. We appreciate all the energy and time that has gone into building Akesi Farms. We have many years of building left but we are off to an amazing start.
Meghan Vesey and Kwesi Haizel