Thunderbird Farms and Growing Pain

Oki, Tansi,

I know, I know! It’s been another 20 days, but I am finally a little more focused and ready to get on with the new chapter of my life now that graduation ceremonies are all done (I attended 3 in total for myself! what an experience!).

In this post, I really wanted to focus on my parent’s current endeavor called Thunderbird Farms, which is a self-sustaining farm in the heart of Southern Alberta on the Blood Tribe. I visited in April to see what they had been up to, since they have just recently gotten back on their land after being forced to relocate due to a grass fire in 2012. They had quite the set-up going on however! They had their greenhouse up and functioning, with lots of sprouts happening (my mom is even growing bath loofas! Unbelievable right?); they also had their raised garden beds and compost built and the starting of a potato field. It was quite the site! Here are some pictures from that visit:

Since then, they have been even busier, with a new partnership with the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association (even receiving a grant for more investments in their business!) and many more improvements to their greenhouse and garden areas. They were even able to put up their solar panels and battery supply during the month of May as well! They’ve had great help from members of the Lethbridge and Blood Reserve communities, receiving plant splices, help with insulating the greenhouse and even planting the rows of potatoes my mother wanted! I’m so excited to see the harvest later this summer and also the progress that they will start to make on their home! Thanks to my brother and mother posting pictures online, I never miss a beat! Here are some of their most recent progress pictures – all of this occurred within a month and a half of my last visit! It’s great! They still need a lot of help though and volunteers to re-build their home and future business site, you can get in touch with them here. It can be difficult doing all of this work with only a team of 3! If my words alone don’t convince you, here’s the progress pics (imagine being a part of this!):

Even though my parent’s have a lot going on with their business, they still found time to make it to my graduation ceremonies in Vancouver and twice in Calgary; I’m so grateful to have such hardworking parents who still make time to share in my accomplishments as well, even if it means putting work on hold for a few days (but I think they needed the break!). We had a great time in Vancouver, and my dad was even able to meet with his new partners face to face (such an entrepreneur! Always working!).

I hope you enjoyed this post on the progress that my parents are making with their aquaculture endeavors. Their entrepreneurial story is so rich and has spanned many years, and working with my father, I hope to bring you even more stories on their progress and how they came to the idea of bringing aquaculture to the bald prairies. Also, look out for my next post on the sights (and tastes) I experienced in Vancouver! One of the biggest highlights was sitting down with the owner of Salmon N’ Bannock and learning more about their business journey! I also ended up at a sweet spot I want to share more information on, a place you should definitely check out if you are in the East Vancouver area! Here’s a pretty photo I got of Mt. Baker to tide you all over! 😉

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Kitakitamaatsin,

Cheyenne