Originally published in the Fall 2016 UWinnipeg Magazine.
Despite growing up in the city, Kalynn Spain’s (BA 4-yr 13) post-graduation life has revolved around small-scale farming in rural Manitoba.
After completing her undergrad in International Development and Conflict Resolution at The University of Winnipeg in 2013, Spain took her knowledge of good development into the field—literally. That summer, she visited approximately 80 small farms throughout the province to learn more about farming and to gather information for an online database meant to connect “eaters with farmers.”
Spain’s summer project blossomed into Small Farms Manitoba (smallfarmsmanitoba.com), which now features more than 130 farms from across the province.
“It’s almost like matchmaking—there’s a lot of Manitobans looking for a specific product…and from the farmers’ side I’ve heard good feedback that they’ve had an increase in business and increased exposure,” Spain says.
Raised in a household where agricultural education and cooking were staple activities, Spain attributes her love of farming to her family. This background, paired with her desire to effect positive change in her community, has made Spain a talented promoter of small-scale farming.
Her education at UWinnipeg has played a significant role in the success of Small Farms Manitoba.
“I was inspired by a lot of the discussions we had in International Development about what makes good development and sustainability within farming,” she explains. “It helped shape the way I think about creating positive change in the direct marketing farms sector.”
Aside from managing Small Farms Manitoba and its associated social media accounts, Spain works as a farm inspector and event organizer with the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market and is the coordinator of the Wolseley Farmers’ Market. She is currently helping develop an official organization to represent all small farms in Manitoba—while retaining her dream of one day owning a plot of land.