Cartwheel Farm - Farmer / Consultant
Laura Francis and her partner Nigel founded Cartwheel Farm in 2014. The couple started farming with very little experience, driven to build a farm that would somehow feel right for their time and place… and for their family. Over the last decade, the farm has evolved towards that goal. Cartwheel is now a bustling certified organic mixed market garden that produces dozens of crops. The installation of an agrivoltaic solar power system and eco-high tunnels, along with transition to the use of electric vehicles are helping to take operations year-round and fossil-fuel free. At the height of the growing season, the farm’s field crew includes more than a dozen staff. Together, the team feeds a 170+ member Community Supported Agriculture program, partners with eight area restaurants, and serves the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market. Through the Cartwheel Fund Sharing Fund, farm supporters flow food from the garden to bolster local food security and seek active reconciliation with the Creston Valley’s Yaqan nuʔkiy community.
Laura came to farming with a background in community and economic development. She was ten when she began advocating for children’s rights and active participation for young people in the issues that affect their lives. That work brought Laura around the world and gave her the opportunity to work with exceptional human beings, including Nelson Madela, Kofi Annan, Asfaw Yemiru, Maggie Barankitse, Anuradha Koirala, and Magnus Bergmar. She was involved in founding the World’s Children’s Prize and served as youth ambassador for Unicef Canada. Maclean’s Magazine featured Laura in their 2003 list of Young Canadians to Watch. She is a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Today, Laura works as a consultant, supporting local government, community groups, and businesses in the Creston Valley. Her role on the farm includes offering a weekly piece of writing to farm supporters. She is passionate about exploring how our foodways might come to express our fullest humanity. Honouring the spirit of truth and reconciliation on the land is becoming a topic of special interest for her.
Soapbox Topic: Farming Towards Truth and Reconciliation