Captain of the fair ship ECOFM & Barnyard Organics Ltd.

Mark was built to be a farmer, from the very start, inside and out. The fourth generation on the farm, he grew up playing in the dirt and driving tractors, always up early to get a start on the day ahead. Growing up on a medium-large scale potato operation, Mark watched the ups and downs of the commodity markets and kept an open mind about the seemingly infinite possibilities that agriculture had to offer. It was during his time at the agricultural campus in Truro, NS, that a business plan for organic production had him considering alternatives.

Mark’s time at NSAC helped form the backbone of Barnyard Organics with progressive certificate programs and facilitating networking connections with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, which Mark eventually worked for as a research assistant on PEI.

Making the initial leap to put the first 50 acres into transition to organic back in 2003 was an important first step and with the support of his father, Wendell, resulted in all 550 acres of the home farm being certified in 2010. The gradual switch from conventional to organic was well-timed for expansion and watching the organic markets continue to grow while building a confidence in the somewhat new frontier of organic grains on PEI.

The diversity of enterprises at Barnyard Organics has Mark, as manager, always on his toes, but his primary focus is the cropping and the Organic Grainery. Besides his skills as mechanic, carpenter, bookkeeper and other essential services on a farm, it is Mark’s ability to think outside the box that keeps the farm thriving and evolving. Mark’s constantly questioning the status quo is perhaps the most valuable asset that Barnyard Organics has to its name.