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Farmer Stories

Liv'n Soils

Olivia Doran is the owner/operator of Liv'n Soils in Prince Edward Island. We talked with Olivia about her growing business and passion for building soils. 

Tell us about your farm:


I’m in O'leary PEI, and I grow on about 1/3 acre in our backyard, with no greenhouses or hoophouses. I grow mostly to sell retail, plus a seasonal CSA, as well as wholesale to two florists in my area. In the off season I do Christmas wreath workshops, holiday markets, and dried floral crafts. I don’t have a family farming background, but when I was in my undergrad my passion was entomology…I ended up working for Agriculture Canada in their entomology department, and went on to do a Masters in Environmental Management, and later worked for CFIA in the potato industry. So I’ve been around agriculture (mostly the larger side) for a while now. I wanted to dip my toes in myself and so I went through the Soil Food Web Program and fell in love with building soil. That's really where my heart lies, I want to understand the soil as much as I understand growing the flowers.

Why did you become certified organic?


I am not certified because (as far as I understand) unless your flowers are edible you are not up for organic certification, and I don’t specifically market any flowers as edible. But I am very passionate about organic practices and standards, and consider myself to be a biological/regenerative grower.

What’s been your biggest challenge?


Jumping into it alone without a business background. Running a business is the most challenging part - being the marketer, being the grower, the seller, the communicator, all of that. And learning to ask for help. That has been hard but rewarding at the same time. I really try to lean into lean farm principles and efficiencies. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?


Getting up, dictating my own schedule, going into my backyard. My favourite part is that every year I'm starting to see more biodiversity, from the insects to the animals. I just love getting up and out there, observing nature while we do our job is the most fun part for me. And I also love the comments and smiles on people's faces when you hand them a bouquet that you put so much hard work into, that fills me with a lot of joy!

What advice would you give to new/young farmers?


That is a bit tricky because I myself am a young/new farmer, so it's hard to give advice. But I think for myself I had to learn to give myself grace.. you're going to have mistakes and failures and you have to be kind to yourself as you run through this process. And you can't do it all! Learn to ask for help, and honestly you'll probably be very surprised by the opportunities and connections that you make when you reach out.

Where to buy:

Liv'n Soils Webpage