Jeremy Colbeck & BeetBox Farm

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Jeremy Colbeck is a Synapcity alumni, having joined our 2016 Civics Boot Camp. Since then, he has gone on to relaunch BeetBox Co-Operative Farm with David Mazur-Goulet and Lise-Anne Léveillé. Beetbox is a workers’ cooperative using sustainable farming practices to grow wholesome and organic vegetables. As of next year, their produce will be available exclusively through a weekly vegetable box program (CSA).

PROJECT DETAIL

Jeremy studied engineering at Carleton University, and graduated with an Aerospace Engineering degree. “I did that because I enjoyed learning about technology and science – and because the guidance counselor sends you in that direction if you’re good at that sort of thing!” Jeremy joked.

Afterwards, Jeremy took some time off, and went to BC to teach skiing for a winter. “I ended up living in a small mountain town for two years. It was the most fun lifestyle you could possibly have! After a while, I figured I should put my degree to use, so I came back to Ottawa. I quickly realized there’s no way I could do a desk job anymore.

I read a lot during that time, and learnt about environmental issues that we face,” Jeremy continued. “I decided I needed to change careers, and ended up working on an organic vegetable farm, Roots and Shoots. Somewhere in there, I did the Civics Boot Camp because I decided to become a more engaged citizen. I didn’t know what that looked like beyond going to the polls every four years.”

Jeremy has been working on farms for over four years now. “Within the first year or two, I went to workshop about sustainable agriculture of foods,” Jeremy said. “I met a group of people there who were interested in starting a farm project. Ten of us gathered together to chat about the potential of collaborating.

Over a year, it eventually turned into three of us, including David and Lise-Anne. We were hoping to rent land in the Gatineau Hills – I was getting to be familiar with the landscape since working as a farm hand on an organic market garden. The three of us started imagining what the project might look like. David had operated a small market-garden for a couple years prior called The BeetBox.  It was an easy decision to relaunch the business and capitalize on the existing social capital.

The relaunch of BeetBox was always anchored by a  mission to work collaboratively thus we incorporated as a worker’s cooperative.  We were fortunate to find a land rental opportunity in the greenbelt where Riverglen Farm operated for a decade. We’re renting an 110-acre property with a farmhouse and 80 acres of fillable field. There’s a farmhouse, three barns, and it’s right on the river, surrounded by wetland and public recreational paths.”

Reflecting on his time with Synapcity, Jeremy, said, “What I took from Civics Boot Camp that influenced this project was the idea of finding people,” Jeremy explained. “It’s very rare that one person can get something done, and I hadn’t internalized that until the program. Sometimes it’s not so important to make the exact changes we want to see happen in our community, but rather to find people to work with so we can get something done.”

PROJECT STATUS

For more details: beetbox.ca.