My name is Sophie Foster. I'm a farmer, a climate change activist, and a Human Rights Advocate, located in Oxford County.
Rising Roots Farm is a business inspired by my rural roots, fond childhood memories of learning to love the natural world, and the evidence-informed solutions I have discovered while completing an undergraduate degree focused on Indigenous rights and climate change mitigation, as well as a master’s degree in Food Security and Ecological Farming. Rising Roots is a business endeavour that has allowed me to connect my two worlds—ecological farming and academia—to deliver nutritious food to my local community, while building an enterprise founded on human rights values and climate change solutions.
How I got here
Having grown up in Oxford County with a dairy farming grandpa, we were always exposed to the agricultural community, whether it was through the Woodstock Farm show, or helping my grandpa out in his own garden. His love for hard work, working outdoors, and sharing the food he grew is something I definitely want to honour here at Rising Roots. Although I had this exposure growing up, I never saw myself going into farming. There wasn’t very much representation of people growing farms on a small scale, or with alternative methods outside of conventional agriculture.
After high school, I ventured to Ottawa to complete my undergraduate degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. It was during this time I become heavily invested in Indigenous rights and climate change mitigation. With a focus on war history, global politics, genocide and ethnic cleansing, my studies were taking a toll on my mental health. It seemed like I was learning all about these issues, and not learning about solutions or how to solve them. As a result, I began to feel hopeless and heartbroken.
In an effort to feel like I was making positive change, I hopped on a plane and landed in Australia. Wanting to do some hands-on work, I stayed with the Nicholson family who were building a rammed earth house (a building technique focused on using natural materials such as sand and clay), growing about 80% of their own food, and living completely off the grid. Working on their piece of property (that I would describe as a Garden of Eden), I began to feel a sense of accomplishment I had been yearning for during my university program. I appreciate the Nicholson family for their help, advice, and guidance; they have truly changed my life.
Filled with passion to make a change in the world based on action and solutions, I decided to combine my experience with hands-on farming and expertise gained from higher education to create this farm.
Rising Roots Farm is a creation that stems from the many emotions I have felt in the past 6 years: sadness, fear, desperation, as well as hope, passion, and healing. I look forward to serving my community by providing a meeting place for local action on global issues.