Has anyone ever told you that the grass isn’t greener on the other side? For Alexandra Briand and her family, the opposite was true. A few years ago, this young mom left her suburban neighbourhood and 9-to-5 job to move to the countryside and became… a farmer’s market gardener!
When asked what inspired her to leave the world of insurance in favour of growing vegetables, Alexandra laughed. “I often ask myself the same question. It came out of nowhere, but it was also natural for me. When I think about it, my love of nature comes from my father. He always encouraged me to be outdoors. He would take me camping or hiking. That was where the initial interest came from.”
There’s a world of difference between spending weekends outdoors and going back to school to start an organic microfarm! For Alexandra, this project has been fuelled by her journey through motherhood.
“Seeing my children grow up so fast, so very fast, scared me a little. Working in an office didn’t align with the life I wanted for my family. I wanted to spend more time with them. I wanted to live at a slower pace. At the same time, I wanted to teach them environmental values and give them space.”
Alexandra recalls her early years as a mother. “I’m the type of person that tends to go all out. When I became a mother, I devoted myself to my children. But how can you avoid losing yourself when you’re wearing so many hats: wife, woman, mother, professional, and so on? I’m still looking for the answer. For me, it came down to having a project that I was passionate about.”
Alexandra always knew she wanted to live in the country. It’s a dream she and her partner have shared for a long time. But we all know how easy it is to take the easier, more comfortable route when you have kids. We stick to the same routine and job because we barely have time to think about changing either. Then came 2020. Like many others, this small family had no choice but to slow down. The plan became clear. Buy land, go back to school, and start a family farm.
“This project matches my interests in so many ways. I’ve always been curious about where our food comes from, and it’s important to me to teach my children to love and care for nature. Starting a farm is also an inspiring project that I can do at my own pace, and that’s so rewarding. I have the privilege of working on my own land, with both hands in the dirt. And I get to explain to my children how our farm’s ecosystem works.”
Time moves differently on the Perras microfarm. “We live in a fast-paced society. I find it incredible to see my children marvel at something as simple as a seed planted in the ground. They help us tend the garden and love to eat the vegetables they grew at the end of summer. They’re just as invested as we are in this project. This year my daughter wants to take care of the flowers. As for my boy, he wants to grow carrots and onions.”
This is proof that finding something you’re passionate about can lead to quality time with your kids. “Having a vegetable farm takes a lot of time, but what you don’t see is that it’s often a family project. In my class, the majority of students are women. They’re part of a conscious, eco-friendly, and diverse farming movement. It’s fun to be part of this revolution. The profession isn’t as well known or as appreciated as it should be.”
Alexandra believes taking a break, reflecting on your life’s trajectory, and choosing a new direction is possible at any age. “I think a lot of people are afraid of being uncomfortable. They don’t give themselves enough time to adjust and get their bearings. I put that fear aside by telling myself that if it doesn’t work out, there’s always something else I could do.”
Like Alexandra and her family, an increasing number of young people in urban areas are choosing to move to the countryside. But it remains a risky and sometimes misunderstood decision. Choosing a slower lifestyle means going against the grain.
When asked what she would say to someone who wanted to embark on a new journey, Alexandra said she’d give everyone the same answer. “Go for it! If it makes you happy, do it. It doesn’t matter what other people think or what you think they think. Because at the end of the day, it’s not going to change anything in their lives, so don’t let that stop you.”
Alexandra agrees that life goes by too fast, and that everyone should live it to the fullest (even if, for her, that means living a simpler life). “The feeling of experiencing something that excites you is incredible. Why would you give that up? It’s a great feeling!”
And what would she tell her children if they dreamed of a cosmopolitan lifestyle complete with ties and office towers? “I’d say the same thing! That’s a valid life if that’s what they want. I think that’s the beauty of our generation as parents. We don’t think there’s only one way to live your life.”
In other words, your path is your own. It’s up to you to lead the way and cultivate your future as you see fit.
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