Rabiey Family Farm
I grew up just east of Manning, Alberta, on a farm that has been in my family for three generations.
I loved the connection to food and nature that the farm gave me, but every year I heard my dad complain about how the farm wasn’t sustainable the way it was. Factors like rising fertilizer costs and closing local elevators were making it harder and harder for “the little guys” in agriculture to survive. Not seeing a future on the farm, after high school I left the only home I had ever known to get an education and chase a career in the bright lights of Edmonton, Alberta. I had some amazing life changing adventures during my seven years away from my rural roots, including meeting my wife Rebecca serendipitously outside an elevator, but despite all the positives, I just wasn’t happy in the concrete jungle.
While studying conservation biology at the University of Alberta and then working as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Energy I learned that the world was facing major environmental issues, like habitat loss and climate change…and that sparked an idea. I moved back to northern Alberta, somehow convincing my “city girl” to come along, and we started creating forests that we’ll never cut down. Creating forests restores habitat and reduces climate change and we sell two products that reflect that reflect those two benefits.
I admit that our tree planting efforts weren’t embraced by everyone in our family at first. More than a few curse words were used as the concept was debated and some tears were even shed along the way. After all, we were planting trees on land that my grandparents cleared by hand and horse when they first moved to the farm from Poland. And my dad had tilled that same soil annually for his entire life to produce wheat, canola and barley that provided for my sisters and I. However, our principles, customers and the growth of the forests themselves have changed everyone’s minds and the dream that started when we planted our first trees in 2007 has become a reality.
Today, about a third of the Rabiey family farm is planted into trees and the remaining land is being transitioned into organic heritage grain production. Though my dad is still a bit concerned about life without his herbicides, this balanced approach to land stewardship is now embraced even by him! We’ve already successfully taken our concept to other landowners across Alberta and are in discussions with others around the world to ensure that family farms can be a part of our societal fabric for generations to come.
- Brad Rabiey, Co-Founder
PS: We also have a video from way back that talks why we started The Carbon Farmer and also captures a rare glimpse of my Dad in front of the camera! It is an oldie, but a goodie...