International Women’s Day – Jocelyn Durston

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia

Hi! I am a first generation farmer, entering my 8th season of farming in Nova Scotia. After spending time in academics and policy offices in my 20’s, I eagerly pursued farming because I desired a lifestyle change and my passion for local food and environmentalism led me to believe farming might be a great fit (it has been!). I love working outdoors with my hands, and I get a lot of personal satisfaction growing food for myself and my community in tandem with being able to steward a piece of beautiful land that is home to a diverse assembly of wild birds, animals, and insects. I get excited about seeing the healthy and important synergy that exists between environmental stewardship and farming and am so grateful to be a part of that.

I grow mixed vegetables and cut flowers on approximately 2 acres of 7 acres of land, and make a line of value-added fermented vegetables, including sauerkraut and kimchi. My farming methods include the incorporation of hedgerows, the preservation of shelterbelts, cover cropping, low-till, and polyculture plantings to compliment our farm goals of strong biodiversity and environmental resilience. 

I am so proud and grateful to currently sit as a council member with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, and to hold the position of President of the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. As a first generation farmer, I feel like I still have so much to learn about farming and our diverse farming community and really appreciate opportunities to meet other farmers and play a role in the promotion and support of Nova Scotia agriculture.

I farm and live with my partner Tim and our beloved cats and dog in Canning, Nova Scotia, on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. 

What is one message you would like to share about women in agriculture for International Women’s Day?

Women are absolute powerhouses in today’s agricultural community! I look around me here in Nova Scotia and beyond and see endless inspiring stories of women taking on leadership roles in the industry, the mental health space, marketing, in community support efforts, in environmental conservation, in peer-to-peer support – all while operating diverse farm businesses and often while raising and supporting families. I know that women have always played pivotal roles in agriculture, but it makes me so proud and motivated to see these stories front and centre now. Entering the industry without a background in it has definitely led to me feeling pretty intimidated in some ag settings, but seeing strong, female leadership in this space (and being cheered on by other female farmers) is what has given me the push to continue to challenge myself and get more engaged when it would have been easier to hide in the background. Thank you so much to all of the females in our community for the impacts you’ve had and continue to have on improving inclusion, diversity, and much-deserved recognition. Happy International Women’s Day! 

  • – Jocelyn Durston, Seven Acres Farm & Ferments