East Gwillimbury Honouree 2022
Marjo Niemi and her husband Peter, owners of the Niemi Family Farm in Mount Albert, Ontario, work together with seven of their ten children to manage their bustling farm where they grow annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetable plants, shrubs, and trees, both in their greenhouse and on the field. They also have horses, sheep, chickens, pigs, and turkeys (seasonally), and of course the family dog and cats.
The Niemi family is very community minded, from the Niemi Easter and Christmas Markets, to birthday parties at the farm, private campfires, March break and summer camps for kids, and Equine Assisted Learning (a personal and team growth experience for all ages—with a horse). Marjo writes a great blog to not only share about farm activities, what they’re growing, and harvesting times, but helpful tips and encouragement to those who want to live off the land more too.
Marjo lives by the proverb, love your neighbour. She grew up on a farm in Finland and her mom was always involved in the community and taught Marjo and her siblings that happiness comes from within. She wanted the same for her children—and for them to learn that they can take care of each other and those in need. Marjo and Peter have achieved that goal and consider it a real blessing, along with their family, to be able to serve the community with their farm produce, plants, bakery, and more.
Over the years, Marjo has seen many new young families growing their own food in their home gardens and on their patios. The Niemis have been able to provide a lot of tips and encouragement on that front, which has been a joy for them, and has resulted in many happy customers of the farm as well. A win-win for all.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the Niemis instinctively thought about how they could help, particularly the elderly in their own town. In short order, they began making and delivering food throughout Mount Albert. They brought warm bread and soup to their elderly neighbours, who were very grateful and happy for the home delivery; it was a tremendously rewarding experience and feeling that will stay with the Niemis for a long time.
Marjo says life is good on the farm. Their lifestyle has always been a little different; the work is ongoing at home, running the farm and tending to the plants and animals. During the pandemic, shortening their open-to-the-public hours for a while was actually positive, especially with respect to the extra family time it afforded them. That said, they embrace and enjoy their busy days, and after the hard work often treat themselves to a sauna and hot tub. Family, good food, self-care, and community is their recipe.