Young Belgian worker comes to P.E.I. as part of the AgriInterCulture program
Ana Lerchs Salazar has been matched with Carey and Jeff Wood, owners of Olde MacKenzie Farm
This past February, the Coopérative d'intégration francophone de l'Île-du-PrinceÉdouard (CIF) announced its new AgriInterCulture project, a recruitment program that matches agriculture students or graduates with farmers in the province.
The CIF has announced the first pairing between Ana Lerchs Salazar from Belgium and the Olde MacKenzie Farm in Rose Valley.
Originally from Brussels, Salazar came to Prince Edward Island on July 3. She has a bachelor's degree in bioengineering in forest and nature management and a master's degree in bioengineering in agricultural sciences from Gembloux Agro- Bio Tech.
AgriInterCulture is perfect for this young agricultural engineer who wanted to work in agriculture and improve her English at the same time.
"I will have the chance to get concrete experience, work with farmers and practise my profession's English vocabulary while learning about a new culture, a new place that I don't know anything about. I will have the opportunity to learn a lot about managing a farm and the way of life on the Island."
Carey and Jeff Wood, owners of Olde MacKenzie Farm, decided to take part in AgriInterCulture because of the lack of workers in Prince Edward Island.
"Ana will have the chance to do all kinds of work on the farm, like weeding, planting, harvesting, washing, weighing, packaging, preparing CSA baskets and working in the greenhouses," said Carey Wood. "Once a routine has been established, she'll be able to suggest improvements. I'm sure that will happen quickly."
Olivia, Carey and Jeff 's daughter, is an integral part of the farm and has already become friends with Ana.
"I get to practise my French, which I usually wouldn't be able to do in the summer, and I appreciate having someone to talk with," said Olivia.
The Wood family plans to include Salazar in family activities. This will also be an opportunity to reduce a little stress that the family has been experiencing, so they can concentrate on other aspects of the farm and spend a little more time together as a family.
She will be at the Olde MacKenzie Farm until Oct. 15.
The purpose of AgriInterCulture is to contribute to the economic development of PEI's agricultural industry while providing a better supply of qualified labour (as interns) to local farmers.
The project also supports the demographic growth of the Acadian and francophone community, as some participants may decide to stay in P.E.I. after their internships if they can secure another work contract.
Any P.E.I. farmer who would like an intern is encouraged to contact Noëlla Richard at 902-439-7998 or agriinterculture@