Bennie Family Farm Creates Community Safe Spaces

Jessica Bennie from the British Columbia-based indigenous establishment Bennie Family Farm tells us about farming's therapeutic power.

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by Phillip MlynarMarch 10, 2022
PHOTO: Bennie Family Farm

“Being immersed in nature is extremely grounding and calming, and horses are amazing healers,” says Jessica Bennie, who runs the indigenous therapeutic Bennie Farm in Ladysmith, British Columbia.

While Bennie Farm helps to provide for Bennie’s immediate family, she prides herself on the way the venture also has a broader impact.

“The most rewarding part about running our family farm is the impact it has not only on our own family but our community,” she explains. “Children enjoy coming here for riding lessons, therapeutic sessions and day camps. And I love seeing the joy on their faces when they are able to connect with the land and animals here.

“Hearing parents say their kids look forward to their time here makes me feel like I’m on the right path to helping others heal.”

Taking a moment out from farm duties, we spoke to Bennie about creating safe spaces through farming and growing the crops your family enjoys the most. We also got up to speed on a resident rooster named Romeo.

Kickstarted by Horses

 

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Looking back on the first steps of her farming journey, Bennie says that it all began at an early age when she became smitten with horses.

“When I then went on to have my own children, I wanted to teach them where their food comes from,” she adds, connecting the past to the present. “So we started growing a small garden on our apartment balcony.”

Creating a Therapeutic Farm

 

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Bennie Farm is billed as a therapeutic family-centric venture. In practice, Bennie says that this translates to creating and fostering “a safe space for our community to heal trauma through culture [and] connection to land and animals.”

She adds that “being immersed in nature” becomes a “grounding and calming” experience—and that the farm’s horses in particular bring an extra level of healing prowess to the setup.


Read more: Therapy chickens? Yep—poultry bring a lot of calm to the coop and the home.


Feeding the Family

 

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When it comes to specific crops, Bennie says that it’s important to “grow what your family consumes the most.” So you’ll find Bennie Farm producing a bounty that’s headed up by potatoes, beans, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, Swiss chard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, apples, raspberries, strawberries and beets.

“It’s really amazing to go out and harvest straight from our garden for our meals when they’re in season,” says Bennie. “With all those veggies, the recipe ideas are endless.”

Get to Meet Nugget

 

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Nugget is one of two mini-pigs that call Bennie Farm home, along with a Kunekune named Pickles. “They’re extremely bonded and love each other very much,” says Bennie. “Nugget loves to play with the horses through the fence and often shares his shelter with the occasional chicken.”


Read more: These small breeds fit great on hobby farms!


Romeo the Ruler

 

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Complimenting Nugget and the pigs, Bennie Farm also counts on a rooster named Romeo to help things run smoothly. “Romeo has free range of our entire property,” says Bennie. “He is a sweet, docile and affectionate rooster who produces melanized chicks with kind dispositions. We take great pride in our chickens’ gentle temperaments. Romeo loves snuggles and often comes to greet us every time we go outside.”

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