This profile was prepared when Christie Young was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
Christie Young is introducing an alternative family farming movement which counters the prevailing industrialized agriculture. This enables succession and opens attractive farming opportunities for youth. She is also providing opportunities for members of the new immigrant populations from the cities to launch their own agri-business and see economic life-opportunities through modern and sustainable farming.
The New Idea
For the past 10 years I have run FarmStart, a non-profit that was created to support and encourage a new generation of farmers to develop locally based, ecologically sound and economically viable agriculture enterprises. Offering flexible programs in Ontario, that provide new farmers from all backgrounds with the resources, tools and support necessary to not only get their businesses off the ground, but to thrive. I also own and manage a restaurant with my husband, Artisanale in Guelph, ON. We serve simple and delicious, handcrafted food. Everything we serve is made fresh, prepared in a French country style, using traditional & artisanal techniques that respect the flavour and beauty of seasonal and sustainable ingredients. I have worked as a social entrepreneur for 17 years, working on ecological agriculture, community food initiatives and with artisanal food producers throughout Canada and the US. Recently, I have undertaken research and lead initiatives to identify and cultivate practical impact investment strategies that could help to seed, strengthen and sustain our local, sustainable food systems. I am most interested in approaches that integrate creative thinking with practical realities and systems thinking with concrete action.