Catherine June Wallenburg felt a calling to live close to the land. In her early 20s, she moved from Montreal to Twin Oaks, an intentional community in the State of Virginia, where she joined a community of like-minded people. And so, the seed was planted.
At Twin Oaks, Catherine had the opportunity to learn from seed growers and experience the day-to-day of working on the land. She tended to the dairy cattle, did the haying, drove tractors, made cheese and worked in the tofu factory and the sawmill. Catherine then spent four years in Missouri at Red Earth Farms, a land trust where residents live and work on their own homesteads. This is where she and her partner built an off-grid home, began growing seed crops, and she worked as an organic farm inspector throughout the Midwest.
Catherine made her way back to Canada and found her footing in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where she worked at a CSA farm before moving to the Ottawa area to help establish a co-operative vegetable farm. She then moved to the La Pêche area, where she spent three seasons at Ferme Lève-Tôt, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) market garden on Kalalla Road.
With her wide range of experiences and an idea germinating, Catherine began nurturing seed crops on a 100-acre farm in Farrellton. In January 2020, Northern Seeds came to life. The greenhouse was built with the help of family, friends, and the community in a true barn-raising with the feel “of many hands making for light work.”
“I’ve learned from some great farmers in the area, as we have a great agricultural community to draw upon here.”
Currently, Catherine has close to 100 different seeds available online and on seed racks in 19 stores, including the Wakefield General Store, Botanix in Chelsea, and Ritchie Feed & Seed in Ottawa East, as well some wholesale clients in the US.
Northern Seeds was just getting off the ground when Covid-19 struck. Seed fairs were cancelled so Catherine shifted her focus to online sales. Assistance came from the SADC which provided much-needed support and has allowed Northern Seeds to flourish.
Catherine has big plans for Northern Seeds: she would love to create a better yellow bean and generally contribute to the stewardship of seed varieties into the future. This young entrepreneur’s passion is simple: “I love what I do day-to-day here on the farm.” When asked how many hours she works each day, she responded, “Too many!” … with a big smile.
657 Pritchard Road, Farrellton QC J0X 1T0
No drop-ins please. Visits by appointment only.