Based in: Canada
Shelley is a trained chef and also a farmer who grows non GMO heritage grains. She is passionate about educating people on the importance of eating Canadian grown non GMO whole grains and how easy it is to incorporate functional foods like whole grains into our everyday diet.
In her words - Against the Grain farms is an advocate for consumer choice. We’re cultivating and harvesting grains from around the world and planting a mix of local pure unmodified seeds. We've meticulously worked to establish and bring back a wide selection of heritage and new grains that can be grown locally — in Canadian soil, in our climate. By harnessing the power of these grains, we offer fresh wholesome food choices that are proven contributors to good health and well being. Our mission, we’re proud to say, is to offer all consumers the power to change —one seed at a time.
What do you do? How did you get involved in organic farming? Why is your business different?
I am "A Keeper of the Seed". As a 4th generation farmer, and a farmer of 29 years I take seriously my responsibility to be stewards of the land, to produce food for my family and others - that is healthy and environmentally sustainable. In the not so distant past, people broke bread together, now our bread is broken thanks in part to over processed and mass produced cheap food. This is why we grow non GMO heritage and ancient grains, produce flours that are healthy and wholesome. We work with chefs, bakers, manufacturers and are always looking for entrepreneurs who want to develop products using these grains. I am passionate about the importance of quality food, seed sovereignty, and consumer education. We should eat to live, not live to eat.
Please visit www.againstthegrainfarms.ca to learn more about our farm, our mission and our products.
What do you think of the stereotype that entrepreneurs are workaholics?
Unlike most people who work a 9 to 5 job, entrepreneurs seldom view work as a drag, but rather a passion. We eat, live, breath our passion. We don't have to go to work, we get to go to work.
What is the scariest thing that happened to you while being an entrepreneur? How did you overcome it?
Spending lots of money with no guarantee that the venture would work or return the investment. I overcame it by telling myself at least I would never have to explain to myself "why I didn't try"
Is there one “rookie mistake” that new entrepreneurs keep on making?
Not finding a mentor! Don't be afraid to ask questions, seek advice and be willing to admit your lack of knowledge in certain areas.
What is failure? Do you think it’s a crucial step to success?
Failing at something does not make you a failure. Being able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, swallow your ego and start again is the most important lesson to learn from failure.
Who is your idol or role model? Can you share their quote/ideology that inspires you the most?
John MacArthur - Right is right even if no one is doing it, Wrong is still wrong even if everyone is doing it.
What is one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?
Money does not define success.
What are some lessons your parents taught you that spurred you to become an entrepreneur?
They taught me to work hard, dream big, and see the world as a playground to be explored.. Second thing they taught me and I taught my children - "love many, trust few and ALWAYS paddle your own canoe"
What is your proudest accomplishment in 2016? And your biggest goal for 2017?
Went through 3 major heart surgeries. Make 2017 a year to embrace everyday like it could be my last.
Did a person or an event in your life influence you to get to where you are right now?
Having a serious health challenge allowed me to look deep into my morality, realizing that there is no guarantee for tomorrow. It doesn't matter what happens to us, it matters how we respond to what happens to us.
Are there difficult times you go through? What helps/inspires you?
As farmers, I look at a seed, so small, so insignificant, yet within itself it has the capacity to grow into a magnificent tree/plant. I visualize myself as that seed, always growing, affected by the seasons of life, but with deep roots, well watered with friendship and love I can continue to flourish.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life? How did it change the way you think about life?
I came from a family of entrepreneurs, as did my husband. Our children are entrepreneurs. We were taught and taught our children not to be sheep, never, ever follow the crowd. Turkeys flock, eagles soar.
Do you believe that there is one specific formula for success?
I believe people have different definitions of success. My definition of success has nothing to do with financial gain but rather that I can answer at the end of the day "yes" to the question have I helped, inspired or encouraged someone today to live bigger, stronger, and more fully. Have I been willing to give a hand up not just a hand out.
What does it mean to have competition/competitors? What is the best practice to approach your competition?
I don't believe in competition in the market place. I love collaboration, there is room at the table for everyone. Each business, each entrepreneur, each visionary has a unique and special gift, attribute and contribution to the bigger scheme of things. I don't need to beat someone else down so that I can succeed, I need to extend a hand to my fellow journeyman (women) and pray that somewhere down the road when I need a hand, someone will be their to extend one for me.