Sackville farm helps people in need develop job skills
Lack of available employment for partially employable drives Open Sky Co-operative
A small farm on the edge of the Tantramar Marsh in Middle Sackville is helping people get back on their feet by getting back to basics.
Open Sky Co-operative is designed to give people who have experienced difficulties, from homelessness to mental illness, employable skills and a place to live.
Norm Hunter is the farm's program director.
"The idea is to provide opportunities for people; a place to live, a place to learn about gardening and small-scale farming, food preparation, life skills," Hunter said.
On its Facebook page, the co-op states the program was started over a concern for lack of available employment opportunities for people who are partially employable due to mild developmental challenges or mental health issues.
"There are many people who fall through the cracks of our social support systems, and who are currently living precarious, isolated lives. They deserve the opportunity to lead meaningful lives, in a safe surrounding among people who care," the co-op states.
Like many small farms, there are a few horses, goats, chickens, lush fields of crops, and no shortage of chores to complete.
Anthony Edgar is one of the three participants who lives and works at the co-op. Edgar has a mental illness and has lived on the streets. This is his first job in seven years.
"It's an awesome opportunity. It's better than just staying in my one bedroom apartment in Moncton," he said, "I get to be outside, look at the sky, see chickens."
Edgar will work on the farm for another two months before taking his new skills, a letter of reference and new-found confidence to the job market.