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Local farm honored for commitment to agriculture; community

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The BMO Farm Family Award is designed to recognize efforts of families for their commitment to agriculture and the community and one of the newest and most unique local farming families is one of six in the province to receive the award this year.
Round the Bend Farm was honored with the award, which is in its inaugural year. As part of the award, proprietors Edith and Sean Sexsmith have a day of honor at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, which runs from March 26 to the 31st, as well as family photographs and a featurette video showcased during the evening programming each day, a personalized plaque and the opportunity to briefly present on the AG-Action stage in the Ag-Education area about their farm.
“Surprised,” said Sean, when asked his thoughts about being a recipient of the award.
Round the Bend Farm is unique in the sense it’s also perhaps a more traditional farm in some sense. While they don’t plant crops they do a lot with animals and insects, including chickens and bees, and sell eggs from free range chickens as well as unpasteurized honey.
“We’re definitely a non-typical family and were not a typical farm either, like modern day culture in western Canada is big industry and we’re really not part of that,” explained Edith. “We do grow food for consumption and that’s the farming end. There’s all kinds of farms in the world and we’re one kind of farm; we’re a mixed farm, we’ve got animals, we do egg production, we keep bees, we have unpasteurized honey that we sell locally, so yeah we are definitely farmers.”
Edith herself is a secondary-generation farmer, coming from a family that also owned and operated a large farm in Carrot Valley. Edith along with several of her siblings are today involved in agricultural production.
Sean meanwhile doesn’t come from such a background but did state his father had bees when he was younger and a rare opportunity to exchange homes with a farming family for a year when he was 14 left an impression on him that has stuck with him since.
“It was always something I wanted to try and so when this opportunity came up I took it,” said Sean, who first started to dabble into farming in 2012 and later began to expand the operation in 2014 when he moved to the current Round the Bend Farm location.
Both still work full-time jobs outside of the farm but Sean said the eventual goal is to turn his love of his ‘hobby’ farm into a full-time role for himself.
Round the Bend Farm is one of only six recipients from across Manitoba and one reason for their selection is the efforts they make locally to get involved with their community. Both Sean and Edith through Round the Bend have worked to help the community, most notably with the young generation.
“They’re also looking for people who did community work and I promote farming to the community and we were part of the old Farm Day. 4-H comes out often and I have other schools that come out to look at the bees and the chickens,” explained Sean.
“We have a good relationship with 4-H and I have a 4-H background here. If we’re ever asked by the local 4-H club to help out with something we do. For example, I’ve done a couple of gardening workshops for 4-H garden club and like Sean said their members come out to our farm to see some of the animals and talk about farming,” furthered Edith.
The husband and wife also help promote tourism and work opportunities in the community, regularly hosting woofers from around the world who come and work several weeks at the farm in exchange for room and board and the opportunity to see The Pas and surrounding region.
But it was their involvement with 4-H that ultimately played a pivotal role in earning the BMO Farm Family Award as it was Head Leader of The Pas Helping Hands 4H Club Cheryl Antonio who nominated Round the Bend Farm.
“I nominated Round the Bend Farm because they have so many positive aspects with it. They welcome the 4H Club often, to the farm, not to mention many others. They are always eager to share what the farm offers. Nominating them was a nice way of showing appreciation for all they do,” said Antonio.
“Like Sean said, we’re surprised. We kind of feel like we shouldn’t be getting an award like this because we’re so small,” said Edith.
But small they may not stay. Round the Bend grows a little every year and currently Sean is working on a mobile chicken coop out of a converted old school bus.
“The chickens will roost inside the bus at night, lay their eggs, and then forage in the pasture during the daytime,” said Sean, noting they currently do something similar only on a smaller scale. “The chickens are outside in the sun and their eating bugs and worms and grass and the eggs are wonderful.”
Edith noted the winter fair is something she has always wanted to see but has thus far not had the opportunity to do so the award will have an added bonus to it. The date they will be featured at the fair had not been set as of press time.

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Trent Allen
EDITOR
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