Lindsay Hamilton is taking her knowledge and passion for gardening to the next level by announcing her plans to open a greenhouse in the spring of next year.
Gardening is more than just a hobby for Hamilton, agriculture is in her blood.
Her family has a very long history in Beachgrove. Her ancestors moved from Ireland to the Pontiac because of the potato famine. They settled on the very same land that Hamilton and her family farm today.
The land has served many purposes, starting as a place that provided their family with all they needed to survive, turning into a hobby farm, and later a sheep farm. In 1977, the farm was converted to what is now known as “Mountainview,” a turf farm started by Lindsay Hamilton’s parents Bill and Sue. This business is now run by Hamilton and her brother Jared. The original house stands right next door to the Mountainview office and is now home to Lindsay’s brother Jared and his family.
Through five generations of farming on 5th Concession, one notion has remained, a passion for farming.
As many know, life on a farm is not one for the faint of heart. The nature of the job involves early mornings, long hours, working through holidays and dealing with unpredicatble weather.
“It’s funny because a lot of people say that ‘it’s not an easy life to live’, but, when you’ve lived no other life, you don’t have anything to compare it to,” said Hamilton, “Saturday mornings, Sunday mornings, holiday mornings when it’s 40 degrees in July -- you’re up at three or four o-clock in the morning doing water to keep the plant alive because you know no other different life. It’s your life, it’s your livelihood.”
Throughout her life, Hamilton has always been an avid gardener. As a child, her family always had a garden. They would take the crop and preserve it, allowing the family to enjoy the harvest year-round. Hamilton was surprised at the lack of knowledge that the average person has when it comes to the process of growing a garden.
“In the last few years, I realized that [gardening is] not everybody’s life and not just because they live in the city, even rural people don’t understand sometimes where their food comes from,” Hamilton continued. “There was a young person working here on the farm that helped us plant some potatoes this spring and he had no idea that potatoes grow underground. It’s baffling to me that it’s becoming this lost knowledge of where our food comes from. If it doesn’t come from a store and doesn’t come pre-packaged, they’re not sure how it grows, how to grow it and where it comes from.”
The life that Hamilton lives is not one for everyone, but she hopes to bridge the divide of knowledge between producers and consumers.
She extends this ideology to her children, wanting them to understand exactly where their food comes from and the hours of work it takes to produce. In the spring, her family purchased some poultry so they can be involved in their food’s production from start to finish.
“There’s this disconnect with kids nowadays where they can eat a piece of chicken or a hamburger for supper and they have no idea where it comes from, but for us we are able to show our kids how to care for the animal, how to have the responsibility.”
“If you don’t feed it and water it, that chicken is going to die. There’s a reality to the life of this animal, it’s going to end up on our dinner plates but for the short time that we were able to care for it, we know that we gave it a great life, it was treated fairly it was treated well,” said Hamilton.
In 2020, Hamilton began sharing frequent tours of her garden on her personal social media. Someone messaged her asking how she is able to successfully grow her garden, and this sparked a desire in Hamilton to help more people reach their gardening aspirations.
“Maybe I can help people re-learn this knowledge that their ancestors knew,” she said with a smile.
In 2021, Hamilton started her Instagram account @HomegrownSmallTown, this page allowed her to speak earnestly to people about her work in the garden and in life. Rejoicing at her success and laughing along with Hamilton at her failures.
Hamilton hopes to be a resource to the community and that through displaying her passion for gardening she can instill that passion into others.
“There’s a whole big saying by Audrey Hepburn that ‘to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,’ and there are many things that gardening can be for people,” explained Hamilton. “For me personally, it’s very therapeutic. As a business owner and a mom of two young children life can be really busy. There is a serenity and a peace that comes over me whenever I can step into my garden. There’s a satisfaction that comes with being able to produce a cantaloupe, cutting it up and putting it on my kids’ supper plates. I want to be able to show people that they can do that.”
Hamilton’s desire to help people with their gardens has led her far. In spring 2022, she will be upgrading the 6 x 12 foot backward greenhouse, made for her by her husband, to a 30 x 90 foot, fully operational greenhouse facility. She hopes to hold workshops and be able to use her degree in turf sciences to help people get the most out of their spaces.
“I hope that they will show me pictures of their problem areas and together we can find a solution of what they want for their landscape. Not every area suits every plant, but together we can figure out what does work for that area.”
The greenhouse will be located on 5th Concession, near the Mountainview office and the original farm house, allowing yet another generation to leave their mark on the land.
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