Lauren Ritchie: Respecting The Process & Reaping The Benefits


Since the age of 16, like so many of us in the space Lauren Ritiche has been in the hospitality space but it wasn’t always in the kitchen. Starting out and then spending most of her time in the front of the restaurant she had a knack for working with the public yet she was always drawn to the buzz of the kitchen.

Lauren’s interest took her down the path of pastries and that has lead to the seamless segway into bread, which I have to admit Lauren does exceptionally well. Lauren like most makers, and artists, takes a sincere interest in the production of her breads and that interest turns into a pretty phenomenal product.

While Ritchies Bakery is a farmers market vendor at the moment, don’t be surprised if you see Lauren rubbing elbows with some pretty epic company through her growth. The likes of the dynamic team from Flourist and the newest addition to the physical bakery address scene, Claire Livia as there’s no doubt Lauren is set along the same path of these other incredible local female lead businesses who just happen to make phenomenal bread.

Lauren shares a lot on this podcast and I know you will all enjoy it. If you’re local be sure to reach out to Lauren and get some of her awesome products as soon as you can!

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  • How to make sourdough

  • What it takes to run your own side hustle bakery

  • How Lauren finds the time and energy

  • When she knew this was something she wanted to do

  • Why she loves working with her hands so much



“I don’t consider it a job, I love what I do. ”  (8:44)

“Vanessa Kimbell, so she does this thing called the ‘Sourdough School’, and I would love to meet her..” (19:22)

“Ordering and stuff like, ‘Oh I ran out of flour!’, you can’t just go and run to the grocery store.” (32:00)

“I don’t think it really matters. Just do sourdough.” (49:42)


Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about Ritchies Bakery  HERE 

Follow Ritchies Bakery   Facebook | Instagram | Linkedin

Vanessa Kimbell

Liberty Bakery

La Glace Ice Cream


Claire Livia


The Bread Lab

Grain Gathering

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It Was Bound To Happen.


The reality is the hospitality industry, food and beverage in general is a challenging space, BUT, what I have mentioned on the podcast and here on the blog more than a few times is how attractive (see; SEXY) this space is.

The appeal of this industry has been confirmed multiple times over whether it was someone’s friend quitting their day job to go all in on the food truck that sells tacos and potato salad, or the two high school buddies that always wanted to own their own bar finally taking the plunge. People have always wanted to play in this space, and sometimes it actually works out. However what we are witnessing now is more than just a lawyer quitting her job to open a bakery. We are now seeing massive companies that have ZERO food & beverage alignment, investing in this industry as they realize it’s power and potential when done right.

Having companies such as Lululemon step into the hospitality space signifies a few things for me:

  • Food, albeit risky, when done right can be a huge success.

  • The demand on companies like Lululemon and companies like it, to adapt their model as most shoppers are now shopping online and food is an “easy” pivot and offering.

  • Due to the success of online shopping brands have less of any opportunity to engage with that consumer any further, whereas food and drink allow for that.

  • With a well thought out concept and a lazer like execution, this industry can be a great business.

Lululemon isn’t the only company to jump in the food pool, as Crate & Barrel have adapted their model a bit and are now offering some unique dining experiences where they can not only provide their guests with an awesome meal, but they can also showcase their products to a captive audience. In the example of Crate & Barrel they’ve taken the traditional in-store demo (free) into a full dining experience (not free).

Just look at what big brands like NETFLIX have done for food, heck YOUTUBE, AMAZON, you name it, everyone is making moves to be in this space, not only from a user experience space but very much so from a space of value and longevity with a food aspect to these brands.

Some may scoff at all of this and call it a flash in the pan, and sure, it very well may be however I say lets wait and see the true impact of players like this getting into the food space. My initial reaction is that this a great thing for our industry as I see it creating more dialog and more space for education around food and food systems, not only locally, but globally. With a brand such as Lululemon I would be very surprised if they don’t align their food program with solid food ethics, health foods, and sustainable practices wherever possible as I feel that is what their brand so naturally is.

By having big businesses join us on the dance-floor we have a greater opportunity to impact our food systems in a positive way with this new established platform for messaging that never offered itself up to food and food education.

While I am not too inspired by the plates that Lululemon is offering at FUEL, I am inspired by the faith they have showed in hospitality. Being a space that can not only provide the Lulus of the world, an economical windfall but also positively impacting the community overall.

Chicago isn’t on my radar at the moment as a destination, although the food scene is and has always been so respectable, I will no doubt make a trip before too long and be sure to stop in for a pair of shorts and an acai bowl.

Now the only question that remains… which big business giant will want to play in this industry next?


Last Night I Got High, Really High.


For the record I don’t get high, I don’t even drink alcohol but last night I got very high.

The internet says that being “high” can be described as “a classic uptick in physical energy and emotional uplift.” and I couldn’t agree more because that is exactly what I felt.

It all started at 5:45am yesterday as I woke up to prepare for a day that had been circled on my calendar for the past 6 months. June 22nd 2019 meant I was hosting, along with an incredible crew of volunteers, my THIRD of SIX pop-up dinners for 2019 with all profits going to local food based charities.

As I made my way through the logistics of the morning I had no idea what was truly in store for me 10 to 12 hours later, and I definitely didn’t think I was going to get as high as I did. However what transpired over what was an incredibly long day is actually pretty hard for me to even articulate here, but I will do my best.

Picture this.

You spend hours, scratch that, weeks envisioning something, something you really really want to come true, and then right before your eyes it becomes a reality in what seems to be a very short amount of time.

Of the the previous pop-ups that we’ve done they’ve been sort of similar in a roundabout way in that they were in spaces that looked like, felt like, and were actual restaurants (or restaurant-like spaces). This dinner, the one I was high for, was fundamentally different. We were set to host 60 people for a six course plant-based dinner, in a field.

No walls, no professional kitchen, no restaurant in sight. We were called to create a restaurant in the middle of a field on a farm. So that is what we did.

For weeks I had been planning on paper, and in my head. Bouncing ideas off of my friends, my partner, and at some points even my 1 year old daughter. I didn’t realize, however, that all of those conversations, all of those run throughs of Scenario A’s vs. Scenario B’s was setting me up for a very unreal and unforgettable night.

As the day went on yesterday, everything began to take shape. Sure maybe the lights didn’t quite look the way I drew it up. Sure the 60 person table wasn’t perfectly straight. But what was happening was my vision was becoming my reality.

I started to get high.

I could feel it when it hit me and it was a very long and blissful high. As I worked with my incredible friends to set up tables, kitchens, lights, and what we called a “bar” I felt a very visceral since of joy that was just slathered with a whack of pride as well.

Wrapping up the last few pieces of work to get the space ready for guests and then the buzz really kicked in. It was official, it was game time and I was as ready as I could ever be to do this.

The difference was this time I was very aware of how high I was.

I was as blissed as I could be as I welcomed people to the farm and encouraged them to make themselves at home on the incredible land we had turned into our little restaurant for the night. The mingling of the guests, the aesthetics of what we had created kept hitting me and giving me such incredible jolts of joy that I couldn’t stop talking to myself. Mumbling things like “You’re actually doing it.” “You realize how awesome this is right?” “Look at all of these wicked people here to support you!”. That dialogue prolonged the high and ensured me that this was a very special feeling on a very special night.

By now you realize that I wasn’t actually “high” in the sense that I took a few hits from a bong yesterday. I was high from seeing what was once only a vision in my head become a very complete and very real reality. My high was fuelled by me doing what I love to do. My high came from being in a space and time where I felt there was no where else I was supposed to be. My high was the alignment of me just being the absolute realest that I could be. Finding myself in such a natural space and state provided me with the type of high that I will look to chase again and I am sure I have even experienced in the past but perhaps I was too unaware to take a moment to recognize it.

They say that “PRIDE” is one of the 7 deadly sins, but I embraced that feeling last night as I was so proud of everyone that came together for really one reason, to share, and from that sharing came so many other incredible spokes to the wheel. I was proud last night as I sat in that high, and I am proud now as I write this. I am proud because I am staying more true now to what lights me up than ever before. It has taken me 37 years to learn that the more you align with what you really want out of this life the more opportunities you have to get as high as you can as often as possible.

Looking back on last night it was everything that it needed to be and a little bit more with the high it provided me.

Here’s to our visions becoming our realities and the ability to get high from it all.


If you’d like to get high with me, be sure to stay tuned for the next 3 dinners we have coming up this year here in Vancouver!

Show Notes - Joanna Jagger : Creating Space For Positive Change

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Joanna Jagger and her team are “new to this space” but they are coming to the Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation world with a ton of experience, a basket full of educational pieces, and a true desire to facilitate positive change for all women in these spaces.

Meeting up with Joanna I wasn’t sure what I was going to learn, but I knew I was going to walk away with a fresh perspective, some actionable takeaways, and a new appreciation for the gaps that still exist in our industry. What WORTH is working to do is to create a platform for more dialog, a dialog to create some significant change.

The stats that Joanna shared with me during this podcast were staggering and I was blown away by how behind we are, specifically in the hospitality space. Joanna brought new paradigms to consider within the restaurant world that until we met I was likely pretty blind to.

I appreciate Joanna’s approach to what she and her team are working to create with WORTH and I applaud them all on the exceptional work they’ve already done to help fill in where some of these giant gaps have existed for far too long.

For the June 24th NEGOTIATE YOUR WORTH event you can grab your tickets HERE

For the August YES SHEF event, you can grab tickets HERE

Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE & SUBSCRIBE to Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast

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  • What barriers women are still facing

  • How to navigate this space as a woman and as a man

  • How moving our industries forward with these topics can look

  • The importance of conversation

  • Why we need to see action today



“What we are building as Worth Association, for me it, I recognized there was a big gap so if you work in many other industries, there’s a Women In Leadership Association.”  (5:19)

“I think there is choice now. I think women coming up in the next generation, I hope, I truly hope, I truly believe the movements globally, ME TOO or TIMES UP, empowering women.” (19:56)

“And this is the special part of YES SHEF, it’s getting the Vancouver Community College, paired up. ” (25:49)

“Not control yourself to be a professional, and that in itself kind of a form of harassment.” (44:58)

“A book you haven’t read yet, or a podcast you haven’t listened to yet, we are in such a powerful time of having knowledge at our fingertips” (45:38)



Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about WORTH ASSOCIATION  HERE

Follow WORTH ASSOCIATION  Facebook | Instagram | Linkedin

Piquant Marketing

Me Too

Times Up

Vancouver Community College

Fairmont Hotels

Female Role Models

Gender Occupation Segregation

Capilano University

Negotiate Your Worth

Inspire Her

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Rainer Krumsiek: A True Take On Agriculture

lydia (1).png

8 years ago I met Rainer Krumsiek and I couldn’t be happier to 8 years later consider him to be a dear friend.

What Rainer has done for me and my understanding of farming, animal welfare, and what really good animal protein looks, feels, and tastes like, his impact on me has been immeasurable. I initially know of Rainer and his late Wife Gigi through the Eat Wild website where they “to promote the benefits—to consumers, farmers, animals, and the planet—of choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from 100% grass-fed animals or other non-ruminant animals fed their natural diets.” Little did I know that this website would lead me to not only purchasing 90% of my animal proteins from such an incredible source but also a friendship that inspires me every single day.

Sitting down with Rainer to record this episode was a treat, but not too far from the regular conversations that we have every time we meet up, the only difference was this time we had a few microphones and a camera. Rainer stayed true to his message despite the added technology to the conversation. Rainer shared his very real opinion, his motivations, his resources and his visions for our agricultural future.

Like most of the farmers out there, Rainer works tirelessly to help bring incredible food to his customers, and you can hear in this episode the very real challenges he, and others like him face to keep the farm up, running and financially viable.

Please support our local farmers and don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE & SUBSCRIBE to Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast


  • What it takes to keep a farm running

  • The positive benefits of introducing livestock to the land

  • How important soil health is

  • What challenges a livestock farmer faces

  • The impact of supporting your local farms



“So we sold all of the haying equipment and custom grazed, and that was the best that we could do for the land.”  (7:26)

“That is the secret with all of these animals, whether it is chicken or pigs, or cows. Eighty to ninety percent of what they eat they poop out.” (11:49)

“A very big part of that. We lived in town, a town of 500,000 people in Hanover . Every weekend, and later on when I went to school, every school holiday I’d spend at my grandparents place.” (23:33)

“We create areas in the forest where, you look at the brush and what is growing there and you’ll know there is better topsoil” (34:22)

“... and can farm, because then the old guy can say ‘O.K I can let go’.’” (45:38)



Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about Big Bear Ranch  HERE

Follow Big Bear Ranch  Facebook

Hanover, Germany

Horsefly, BC

Hobby Farm

BSE Disease

Ranching For Profit School

Topsoil Health

Rudolf Steiner

Gabe Brown, Dirt to Soil

Half A Dozen Dinner Series

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Dish Pigs w/ Christina Clark & Jon Deitcher of Endorphin Films

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness..png

“There is just something about the energy in a kitchen, it just sucks you in.”

If you are in the restaurant industry, or if you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant, you need to watch this documentary. Dish Pigs, the awesome documentary shot by the team at Endorphin films follows three personalities as they work in an environment that others wouldn’t dare take part in. The film follows Claude, Shawn, and Ali as they share their own unique stories and why they choose this line of work, why they choose to wash dishes to earn money, and those stories couldn’t be more real and intriguing.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Producers Christina Clark and Jon Deitcher the two visionaries (plus their awesome crews) behind the creation of this film and learn more about how this film even became a thing and also dive deep into what they themselves learned about this industry through the creation of this film.

Dish Pigs provides such a great peak into a world that so few of us ever get to experience, and I would be very surprised if this film alone helps to create a positive shift in our industry where we see the Ali’s, Claude’s and Shawn’s of the world getting more recognition, more support, and a mention when it comes to reporting on the success of a restaurant.


  • What it is like trying to film in a dishpit

  • How to send a GoPro safely through a dishwasher

  • The harsh realities of some restaurant kitchens

  • What it’s like having millions of people watch your work

  • What is next for Endorphin Films



“Dish Pigs is a documentary about dishwashers. The humans, because we often get people thinking it’s about the machines.”  (4:24)

“If you want to meet the interesting people in the restaurant industry you’ve got to go beyond the closed doors.” (4:48)

“I think validation, a little bit, and also I feel very proud.” (12:52)

“A thousand percent, and you see it, I mean I watched it the most at Bremner, they’re a really tight knit team.” (24:58)

“Get to a mountain, get to the ocean, go for a hike.” (54:55)



Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about Endorphin Films  HERE

Follow Endorphin Films  Instagram


Bremner Restaurant

Danny Smiles

Danny Meyer

Conventional Work

Half A Dozen Dinner Series

Who Do You Want To Hear From The Hospitality Space Featured On The Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast?

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Simple Systems With Big Impacts


As a Restaurant Consultant I am constantly looking for new ways to assist my clients to improve their businesses. Always looking for innovation, new ideas, and challenging theories that will help my clients grow. I talk a lot about it on my podcast as well in my one on one meetings, let’s borrow the winning ideas and practices from successful business both in and out of our industry. Let’s learn from others, especially their mistakes. We can learn so much from all that is around us. Especially with technology at this moment making everything so accessible, we see companies and individuals sharing free content that when sifted through you’re likely to find some gems. I have been lucky enough to find such gems and tweak them where needed to make them applicable to my business and my clients.

On this podcast you’ll hear mention THE POWER LIST as shared by Andy Frisella of MF CEO Podcast. This simple yet impactful exercise and daily system can literally transform your business in a matter of days from one that is passive to one that is aggressive, or from a business that is surviving to one that is thriving.

The concept is simple and you will hear me break it down quickly in this short episode.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The difference between “goals” and actionable items

  • How to adopt this system into your business and personal life

  • The key habit of writing things down

  • How to define your success

  • The power of intention and execution




Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about me  HERE

Follow Me   Facebook | Instagram | Linkedin | Twitter

Bill Gates


The Power List

Danny Meyer

Sweet Green

Half A Dozen Dinner Series

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What Make Great Restaurants Great?


In Vancouver, the city that I call home, we have an estimated 5,000 restaurants. New York, roughly 24,000. London, England close to 40,000. And finally, my hometown of Halifax, approximately 200.

Now while these numbers vary, I can guarantee you that not all of the 24,000 restaurants in New York City are necessarily great spaces. And I know that not all of the 200 in Halifax have lineups out the door, these are just the facts. (However, truth be told, if you own a restaurant today in 2019 with food costs, rising real estate pricing, and labour issues, you are doing something right. If you are open for business day after day, kudos to you for fighting the good fight and helping this industry along.)

There are however the exceptions to the rule, the truly great restaurants that raise the bar when it comes to the food scene in a given city or even on a global scale. These restaurants are consistently being celebrated, supported and highlighted for their work and most of the time they deliver unlike most others in their space.

Today I want to take a moment to share the TOP THREE attributes that make up a truly great restaurant.

  1. Unapologetically True To The Concept: Great restaurants don’t deviate. I am not talking, they won’t sub avocado for fresh fruit, I mean they aren’t serving sushi at a BBQ joint. It is so easy to write a menu for “everyone”. Burgers and fries? check. Spaghetti & Meatballs? check. Chicken quesadilla? check. Vegan french toast? check. Great restaurant do not and will never do this. The concept simply cannot be, “We want to be everything to everyone!” Sorry but that just doesn’t work. The great spaces, the ones that you go back to all the time because they do (insert your favourite dish here) better than anyone else in the city, are the ones that truly set the tone and help to define the food culture in a city. Look for restaurants that don’t serve brunch perhaps, spots that don’t serve tacos, establishments that don’t serve draught beer. Once you’ve found them, dig deeper, find out why and I can almost always guarantee you it is because they have a vision, aand a concept they are unwilling to compromise on. Next ask them what they are known for an order that, always order that.

  2. Customer Service So Good You Want To Kiss The Waiter (Chef, Dishwasher, Hostess…..): Hospitality is something I spend so much time with my clients on and the one piece that lights me up so much as a consultant. As Eric Pateman so accurately put it on the Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast, “I can cook. When I go out, I want to be looked after.”

    Have you ever watched a video where the images on the screen were a bit fuzzy but the audio was perfect? You likely weren’t too bothered by the tiny glitches in the video were you?

    Now, have you ever watched a video where the picture was crystal clear, I mean as HD as HD can get, but the audio kept cutting in and out, and and some points you couldn’t make out any words at all? You likely turned it off. Correct?

    This is the analogy I use with my clients when it comes to the importance of their service. When the food (the picture or video) is awesome, and the service (the audio) is firing on on all cylinders we have a pretty predictable winning system. However, if one of these things has to drop a bit, it cannot be the service.

    As the soundtrack to the overall experience, the service can always cover up a misstep here or there by the kitchen. But the kitchen can almost never make up for a misstep by the service team.

    Great restaurants know all of this intuitively, and they execute their service with a relentless effort, getting everything done that they can for their guests. And while the kitchen is still knocking it out of the park with the food, the incredibly high level of service on the frontlines disguises even the slightest miscue that may occur with the kitchen.

    Take note the next time you’re out, what is better, the video, or the audio? My bets are it is the audio that will truly make or break your experience.

  3. Gratitude: Great restaurants are the perfect mixture of humble shaken up with swagger all the while being thankful that their community is willing to line up and wait 2 hrs to get their crispy chicken sandwich or wait an hour to get “that table”.

    The sense of awareness that great restaurants have is an imperative attribute towards their success. By being able to perform at a high level and produce day after day and night after night is one thing, but to do it with a sense of grace, a sense of gratitude, it is these spaces that are destined to hold a special place in so many peoples minds and hearts. From Head Chefs highlighting exceptional farmers to the waitstaff volunteering at the local charity event, these business show a true understanding that without the other people involved, without the support, their business wouldn’t exist.

    Do some digging, ask around, and just keep your feelers out to see which restaurants in your area are not only executing on a high level but also showing up grateful for all of support they receive on the daily. Those are the great restaurants.



That Was Fun.


When The Host Becomes The Guest

I write down a lot of my goals, and one of the many that I have was written on my whiteboard in my bedroom where I would see it every single day. It read, “Be a GUEST on someone else’s podcast”. After about roughly 40-50 episodes of my own on The Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast I was looking for an opportunity to spread my message even further, and so I wrote this goal down and emailed everyone who had a podcast that was somehow aligned or semi-aligned with me, what I am doing, and my industry. Guess what happened? Nothing. Zero. Literally crickets. I didn’t receive one reply and while that was tough to digest I knew somehow some way it would happen, I just had no idea when. Cut to today, May 31st 2019, one day from my VERY FIRST PODCAST EPISODE and I have now not only guested on a total of 4 podcasts (Zero To Here, Try It Like It, Your Hidden Talent Podcast , Awaken The Awesome) which is amazing AND it happened, but now I am guesting on my own show.

That’s right, the latest episode, in celebrating year 1 of my podcast literally just around the corner I am releasing my “Get To Know Me” episode where I sat down with my friend Devon Doolling (she was on episode 50) and we switched roles! Devon played the host and brought some awesome questions, while I sat back and fielded those questions as best that I could. I had a really fun time recording this episode with Devon and feel super grateful that she took the initiative to make this all happen.

This is a super fun episode and I know you guys will enjoy this one as it is completely different and it gives you more insight into me… in case you were interested.


  • My “LAST MEAL”. What I am eating, who is it with, where is it and what music is playing

  • Some of my biggest influences

  • My goals

  • How I stay motivated

  • What is next for the dinner series, the podcast and my consulting work



“When you first asked that question I was picturing a beach”  (8:38)

“Confidence in me to jump into this, I mean opening my own consultancy business” (17:07)

“And then from that it afforded me the ability to have the conversations to say ‘Hey would you be open to donating’?”” (23:11)

“Goals that would probably make you laugh, because they probably sound unachievable.” (35:20)

“I don’t ask clients to be ignorant to what could happen, we spend time, on what I call the anticipation playbook .” (46:33)



Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about me  HERE

Follow Me   Facebook | Instagram | Linkedin | Twitter

Opening A Restaurant

Starting A Podcast

Marketing Yourself

Use A Podcast To Grow Your Business

On The Rocks Ice

Half A Dozen Dinner Series

Ignoring The News

Get A Mentor

Chase The Whimsies

Who Do You Want To Hear From The Hospitality Space Featured On The Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast?

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Small But Mighty w/ Shirlene Cote of Earth Apple Farm

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. (1).png

I would say she has a quiet confidence and a undeniable passion for her practice. I left Earth Apple Organic Farm a few weeks ago think just that. After spending a few hours with Shirlene Cote it was obvious to me that not only did I just get to spend time with a truly grounded and special human, but I was given the opportunity yet again to learn from someone how knows so much about a topic I am becoming more and more intrigued by. Farming found Shirlene, or Shirlene found farming in a very serendipitous way and she hasn’t looked back. With her small stature you wonder how she manages to move equipment, feed, and other heavy objects that the farm throws at her, but her approach to the physical seems to be the same as the mental. A very obvious “I’ve got to do this” attitude. Sitting down with Shirlene was an absolute pleasure and I feel so lucky to now consider her a friend.

I am confident you will all enjoy this episode as much as I did putting it together.


  • How crying alone in a field can be a powerful motivator

  • When investing in yourself pays off

  • The truth about being a farming from Shirlene’s perspective

  • How her farm operates

  • Why she recommends kissing a frog



“One of the biggest concerns that I saw happening was the average age of farmers being retirement age.”  (5:03)

“I kept that job part time for the first couple years and then realized it was not going to be possible to pursue farming without it being a full-time endeavor” (17:42)

“Because it is not easy to teach new people and go through that every single year” (26:43)

“I’d say that is where my roots are, literally.” (34:17)



Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about Earth Apple Organic Farm  HERE

Follow Shirlene Cote  Facebook | Instagram

Wildlife Biology

Naturalist Internship

Environmental Education

Ecological Education

Simon Fraser University

Farming Employment

Types of Grass

Organic Farming

Canadian National Food Policy

Who Do You Want To Hear From The Hospitality Space Featured On The Half A Dozen Hospitality Podcast?

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