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

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CLASSIFIEDS / COMMUNITY -

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@

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