Jennifer, alongside her husband Adam, own Hold Fast Farms, in Breadalbane PEI, raises their three kids Jessie, Millage, and Katie. Jennifer grew up on a dairy farm in Nova Scotia and Adam from a dairy farm from the Island, so farming is rooted deep in them. Together they operate their sheep farm with 100 Dorset cross ewes with hopes in expanding their flock. They grow wheat, barley and oats which covers around 500 acres. These crops are mostly taken to the PEI Grain Elevators, with the rest being used on their farm. When Adam is not working on the farm, he works full time at Kensington Agriculture Equipment as a mechanic. Jennifer knows that there are many misconceptions throughout the agricultural industry. She knows how critical it is to advise consumers to do their research before believing everything posted on social media.
Name: Jennifer MacLeod
Occupation: Together with my husband, we own Hold Fast Farms, where we have sheep and grow grain. I also work at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as the Industry Liaison for the Atlantic Living Labs.
What does your job entail?
On the farm, I do the administrative side, such as the books and ordering. My husband does the mechanical side, and we both do daily operations. At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, I am the Industry Liaison for AAFC’s Living Labs Atlantic project. The Living Laboratories Initiative is an integrated approach to agricultural innovation that brings farmers, scientists, and other partners together to co-develop, test, and monitor new practices and technologies in a real-life context. I work with the scientists and the farmers to complete the projects and implement the new practices.
How long have you been involved in agriculture\food industry on PEI?
I moved to the Island in 2003 after I graduated from Dalhousie Agriculture College to work on a farm over here. I had planned to go back to Nova Scotia, but I got married and had three kids. Over the years I have worked on a dairy farm, at ADLIC, at the PEI Department of Agriculture and have been at AAFC for 5 and half years.
What is your education/ experience prior to entering your current job?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Dalhousie Agriculture College with a major in Animal Science. I am also a Certified Nutrient Management planner and a member of the PEI Institute of Agrologists.
Are you involved in any extracurricular or community activities?
One of my children play ringette in Rustico, so I am on the board and am the Director of Coaching. I also am involved with 4H as a project leader. I am a board member for the Kensington Country Store, and I was a former board member for the PEI Federation of Agriculture.
What’s your favorite island product?
New potatoes with lots of ADL butter!
When you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher, my grandmother was a teacher, so I saw myself doing that. As I got older, I realized agriculture was what I wanted to be involved in.
What would you want consumers to know about your business and the agriculture/food industry?
I would like consumers not to believe everything they read on the internet or hear people say. There is a lot of misinformation or fear-based things being posted, take everything with a grain of salt. Do your research, ask a farmer as they would be happy to tell you what and how we do things.
Why do you do what you do?
Being raised on a farm I guess it’s in my blood. I can’t imagine doing anything else now. Even with the ups and downs and stressful times it is still what I love doing. It’s a great spot to raise kids and teach them the value of hard work and a job well done.