Lydia Ryall Award
Third-generation Delta grower Lydia Ryall was named the 2014 BC and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer at the BC Agriculture Council’s annual gala in Abbotsford.
While she comes from a farm family, the 29-year-old organic grower has definitely carved out her own path.
She earned her BSc in Agriculture at the University of Lethbridge, and a diploma in Agriculture Production at Olds College. After graduating Ryall worked as an Environmental Farm Planner, before returning to her home town of Langley.
Rather than continue working on her family’s 18-acre greenhouse operation in Delta, she leased land from her parents and started her own organic farming operation. Four years ago she moved her operation to Westham Island. Her four-hectare plot is a certified organic mixed vegetable and pasture-based poultry operation, using a variety of cutting edge techniques. Her farm’s mission statement is summed up in her motto: "Real. Good. Honest. Food."
In her speech, Ryall says she is interested in all types of agriculture, not just organic, and her decision to go organic was based on market forces, not philosophy. "It’s what my customers want," she says.
But, having made that decision, Ryall and her sister Lydia work hard to use the latest techniques in organic farming. "I want my farm to be a positive example of sustainable agriculture," she says. "We focus on high value crops and crops which you can't find in regular grocery stores."
The winner, named at the B.C. Agriculture Council's annual gala, represents this province in the national competition for Young Farmer of the Year.