True North Calling

A tiny yurt. Two small kids. Organic farming in Whitehorse.

Kate and Bart run a farm, living in a yurt with their two young children. They are proud that their children will know how to grow their own food, and see another way of living. When Kate's mom visits from the South, she struggles with accepting her daughter's life choices.

Living off the Land - Kate and Bart

6 years ago
Duration 2:32
Kate and Bart met in Whitehorse. Now they're raising their kids on an organic farm off the grid.

Kate and Bart met in Whitehorse eight years ago; he came from Alaska working odd jobs and she was a newly arrived social worker. 

Today they run a farm, living in a yurt with their two young children. Spring is their most hectic time, and with a short growing season the pressure to maximize their crops is enormous. They grow and sell greenhouse crops including artichokes and tomatoes, more than 50 types of lettuces and greens, root vegetables and herbs.

They also raise chickens for eggs and meat, pigs, rabbits and turkeys. They sell their produce to restaurants, run a CSA food box program and sell at a local market in the summer. Despite the harsh climate, they've had a couple of good years and recently won a prestigious "Farmer of the Year" award. They are committed to a small footprint, off-grid lifestyle, but this year they have to finally turn a profit to maintain their way of life. 

However, Cathy, Kate's mom, is having trouble accepting her daughter's off-the-grid lifestyle. 

"If I just came upon [them] and didn't know the people, I would say they're living in poverty," Cathy says.

Growing Pains - Kate's mom comes to visit

6 years ago
Duration 2:46
Cathy, Kate's mom, comes to visit the off-the-grid family and has a difficult time accepting their life in Whitehorse.

"Although I'm happy to be here with the family, I'm pulled," says Cathy. "I'm not always comfortable. It's like 24/7 camping."

Kate understands where her mom is coming from. "She gets the philosophy behind it but it just wouldn't be her choice for me if she got to choose," Kate says, adding that "this sort of life resonates with me. Right now." 

But Cathy's working on seeing thing's from Kate's perspective: "It's something we all have to work on, acceptance," she says.

Meet more hard-working northerners on True North Calling Friday nights on CBC