British Columbia

This couple left Vancouver to start a farm — without a clue how to do it

Kirsty MacGregor and her husband Kyle Towner left the towers and traffic of Vancouver behind for the rolling hills of a 160-acre farm in the Cariboo nearly a year ago. The catch is neither of them are farmers.

They've got pigs, cows and chickens. Just not the experience.

Kirsty MacGregor left the towers and traffic of Vancouver behind to start a life of farming. (Submitted by Kirsty MacGregor)

Kirsty MacGregor and her husband Kyle Towner left the towers and traffic of Vancouver behind for the rolling hills of a 160-acre farm in the Cariboo nearly a year ago.

The catch? Neither of them are farmers.

MacGregor, 34, says the choice to move to a log house in the community of 150 Mile House —15 kilometres southeast of Williams Lake, B.C.— was the right decision for her and her husband, who is 35. 

"Why pay half a million dollars for a condo in Vancouver when B.C. is so huge and jobs are everywhere?" she told Sarah Penton, host of Radio West.

"The cost of living keeps getting higher, so why work harder to keep trying to get ahead? Revert back to simpler times. So many people we know ... that's their goal. Escape the city."

MacGregor says the choice to move to a farm was the right decision for her and her husband.  (Hidden Valley Ranch 150/Facebook )

MacGregor says her family wasn't surprised she had decided to take up farming. She had always been an animal lover. But they were definitely surprised that the couple had gone big and bought 160 acres, rather than a small acreage. 

But MacGregor says she and her husband wanted their farm to have maximum potential.

"We knew that we wanted to do bigger things and live off our own land, rather than have jobs. So rather than getting 10 acres and then realizing we've out-grown it, we figured ... lets just go big straight from the start."

Kirsty MacGregor and one of her cows. (Hidden Valley Ranch 150/Facebook )

No farming experience

With little clue about how to actually run a farm, MacGregor and her husband slowly tried to learn the ropes. 

"It's been adventurous. The house we bought came with a tractor and obviously neither of us have driven tractors before. So we're sitting on YouTube watching videos on how to start the tractor," she recalled. 

One big happy family on MacGregor's farm in 150 Mile House, B.C. (Hidden Valley Ranch 150/Facebook )

MacGregor says handling their first winter on the farm was difficult. 

"Neither of us have really had to deal with that … So it was a huge learning curve to figure out what to be ready for. But no matter what, you're never ready."

One day the couple left for work without putting logs on their fire and came home to frozen pipes. They also had to deal with vehicles getting stuck on their extremely muddy roads.

Rescue pigs from Vancouver. Their original owners bought them as mini pigs, but they grew up to be ... not so mini. (Hidden Valley Ranch 150/Facebook)

Now, they have cows, alpacas, goats, chickens and rescue pigs.

MacGregor is a service advisor at a mechanic shop and Towner works as a carpenter. But their goal is to eventually quit their day jobs and become completely self-sufficient on the farm, growing their own veggies and grain and raising their own meat. 

"Both of us just don't want to work so much or even at all. We both are hard workers and are not afraid to get our hands dirty. We want to live and enjoy life and we feel that learning these skills is the way to escape the norm."

Listen to the full interview here:

With files from Radio West.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?