Featured farmers for September: Joy and John Cline
By Adam McClary
Dealing with adversity and building communities
John is a medical Doctor running a clinic specializing in healing through nutrition. After living in town for years, he purchased an old home from a dairy operation just a year and a half ago. Since then he has been busy forming partnerships and building community. He donated one of his old milk barns to Youth for Christ who turned it into a recreation center for children. He formed a partnership with a local foodshare organization that is now growing vegetables on his farm. This year he started planting Empress Splendor trees with World Tree. His farm in located in Nanaimo BC.
Hello John, Great speaking with you. What is your vision for this farm?
Over my career in medicine I have seen thousands of patients and have noticed consistently that my patents who were farmers, looked younger were healthier and lived longer. I was looking for a similar environment; a place that would be peaceful, healing and relaxing for myself and my patients. I found that here. We purchased the place with several acres of blueberries.
The view here really is wonderful, how did you hear about World Tree?
We heard about World Tree first from our patients and then later from some people at church. When we heard that one of their farms was close-by, we drove over and visited with them. We were originally planning on planting hazelnuts out in this field, but that was going to be a significant cost for us. The Empress tree embodied all the characteristics we were looking for. Good for the environment and the soil. By the time we decided to move forward with planting it was late July last year, so we waited to plant the majority of the trees this year.
Great, how was your experience getting started in our program?
Planting the trees was great. We organized community planting parties. We had children who use the recreation space in the barn come out as well as some people from an organization for the disabled. It was neat being able to see these individuals all come together and participate by getting into the soil and planting these trees.
How have the trees done this summer?
We planted in June of this year and they really took off. Then towards the end of July the deer started eating the leaves off our trees. We called Roy the next day and he suggested putting up an electric fence around our plantation. We did that and initially it kept the deer out. Unfortunately, the deer quickly learned they could get through our fence in between the electrical pulses. Deer are smarter than one might think! We are planning on putting up another strand of hot wire about four feet out from our current boundary fence. We have heard that works.
Sorry to hear that, how do you feel about the project right now?
The trees will be going dormant for winter here in a few weeks and we are confident it will all work out. There is a saying I learned from my father regarding farming. After an issue arises he always says. “next year will be better.” We are looking forward to seeing how these trees come back in the spring.
Thanks for sharing John. It is great to see you still watering the trees and managing the planation even after the deer started causing you issues. We are really looking forward to working with you to find solutions this coming spring.