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Mark Bernard


Mark Bernard, the fourth generation Bernard to be farming in Freetown, had farming in his blood and as a child helped out around the large potato operation as much as he could.  As he got older and wiser, he began to wonder about other agricultural avenues for the farm, which led him to spend three years at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, where he graduated with a diploma in Agricultural Business, minor in Plant Science, a certificate of Specialization in Organic Agriculture and also a certificate of technology in Agriculture.  While at college, Mark decided that beginning the transition to organics would be a good move for the farm, so upon returning to PEI, he was able to begin farming his first few acres of certified organic grains.  Everything went well, which has led to the entire farm well on its way to certification.  For the 2009 harvest season there will be 400 acres of certified crops, with the intention of the entire 500 acres certified by 2010. 



Family
Mark and Sally were blessed with their first daughter, Lucy, in November, 2007 who loves plodding around the barns and ‘helping out’ amongst the sheep flock.  They are proud parents, pleased to announce that there will be a new arrival in April of 2009, with hopefully more to follow that one!


 

 

 

Farm Family

The Nova Scotia Agricultural College is not only where Mark was inspired to begin the transition to organics, but also where he met his wife and business partner, Sally Bernard (nee Wilson).  After graduating from Mount Allison University, Sally felt drawn back to her farming roots and found herself in Truro completing a diploma in Plant Science.  Having grown up on a beef and sheep farm, with all the various critters that go along with an old fashioned mixed farm, she always wanted livestock around, which led to the sheep and chickens taking up residence in Freetown.  While experience with livestock in the past was certainly as asset, producing organic meat and eggs was a new frontier for both Sally and Mark, but has proved to be both rewarding and thus far, successful.

Family Farm

A big help on the farm is Wendell Bernard, Mark’s dad, who despite his many years of very successful conventional potato production, has been remarkably progressive in his embrace of the organic transition of his farm.  Now that Mark and Sally have taken over the business, Wendell is an invaluable asset for both his knowledge and willingness to help wherever possible.  With 500 acres of organic crops to farm, it would be impossible to do it without him.  His wife, Carol Anne is also important to the smooth running of the farm as she is quite often available for emergency child care when something suddenly pops up that needs the attention of both Mark and Sally.