Article and Photos by Terri Smith –
When Lisa first approached me in 2012 to ask if I would write for The Green Gazette, I was a market gardener with a literature degree, owner of Road’s End Vegetable Company, and the surrogate mother of a ridiculous little bottle goat named Amadeus, who was the reason she asked me to write for her in the first place.
For ten years now, I have shared my thoughts, farm tales, and love for Amadeus with more people than I probably even realize. Readers have told me that I have made them laugh, and also cry, and I have probably even sometimes made some of you angry. But through this most interesting decade, writing for Lisa and The Green Gazette has always been a labour of love, just like farming.
My farm at Road’s End was where I grew up. I spent ten years in Vancouver after high school, and it was wonderful to be back in the magical, enchanted place of my childhood. I felt so grateful to be there because I was so sure that it was where I truly belonged and that I was doing what I was meant to do.
But seven years and a lot of lessons later, I realized that my path to sustainability was not sustainable for me.
I didn’t think I would ever leave Road’s End. It was my dream, my path, my calling. But it was becoming too hard on my body, and after a time, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.
When I stopped market gardening and left Road’s End in the spring of 2016, I didn’t know who I was anymore if I wasn’t a farmer. I did move to another farm in the Cariboo, but I had no idea what I was going to do next. My entire identity had become so entangled in my home and occupation that without those things I was free—but I was also lost.
I was so grateful to Lisa for wanting me to continue writing, and to my readers who still wanted to hear from me as I built a new life and tried to find my new path after Road’s End. “After Road’s End” is how I still think of my new life here, and it always makes me smile because where does one go after one reaches the end of the road?
Wherever one wants.
I read something recently about how in our world the definition of success is tied to the concept of forever. As in: if you start a business, run it successfully for a time, and then decide to go do something else, then that business “failed.” Or if you start a relationship and it goes well for a time, but then you grow in different directions and decide to separate, you now have a “failed” relationship. But what if we move beyond that idea? What if we stop tying the idea of success to the idea of forever? All things have their season, and if we can appreciate them while they are happening and then let them go with loving gratitude when it is time, is that not actually a better success story than if we cling to something beyond its season?
I love the new path I am on even more than my original plan. I do not see Road’s End as a failure. It was a successful business, and it was also a seven-year study in biodynamic agriculture. With the knowledge I gained during that time, I have taught so many workshops on how to grow food, helping to empower others to grow sustainably, and I have been able to explore many new ways of growing as I experiment with permaculture design in the garden of my dreams here in my new life. The six years I have been here have been wonderful, and I am so grateful that I had the courage to make a change when it was time.
And now it is also time to say goodbye to The Green Gazette with loving gratitude. Thank you, Lisa and crew, and thank you, dear readers. What a beautiful journey it has been, and what a wonderful success! I look forward to whatever comes next!
Terri Smith still teaches gardening workshops, and she also teaches the magical art of needle felting through her new business: Something Magical. As well as forever identifying as a gardener, Terri is also a purveyor of wool, felting kits and supplies, and other bits of magic and art. She lives with her partner, Mark, and a few sheep and cats on a small farm near Quesnel. She can be found at somethingmagical.ca