Located on the banks of the magnificent North Saskatchewan River in northeast Edmonton is Riverbend Gardens, a 120-acre family farm owned and operated by Aaron & Janelle Herbert. The farm has a unique microclimate that enables Riverbend to harvest vegetables much earlier than the norm and provides a longer growing season. Riverbend Gardens’ mission is to grow healthy nutritious food for their local community while taking care of their precious resources for future generations and leaving a better place for their children.
Riverbend Gardens was an early pioneer in providing local food to local people starting with Janelle's parents in 1981, the year Janelle was born. Aaron and Janelle were married in 2004 and started farming with Janelle’s parents in 2006. Aaron, who did not grow up on a farm, jumped at any opportunity that was offered by Janelle's parents to help. He loves being close to his family and working outdoors in the fields with his crew. He also loves sharing his passion with the customers at markets.
Riverbend Gardens sells its produce at nine farmers' markets in the Edmonton area including the long-running, Old Strathcona’s Farmers Market. They have recently started a new initiative, called Community Supporting Agricultural (CSA) where Riverbend Gardens packages fresh produce and brings it to 13 locations in the Edmonton area where about 800 subscribers pick up fresh vegetables from Summer to Christmas. You can check it out at https://riverbendcsa.ca.
To the Herbert’s, farming is not just a job, it is a lifestyle. Janelle comments, “For us, we feel like we're always working and never working. We live farming. We also love that farming allows us to always be available for our children – sharing our work with them. We are terribly busy but very flexible.” Asked about the challenges, Janelle adds “Farming always reminds us that we are not in control. God controls the weather and the growing. We are here to steward the land and the plants. Farming can be very demanding and requires constant watch, missing details can be devastating to crops. Farming also requires many skills – running a business, marketing, maintenance, and of course growing. “
About working with Jim at Lighthouse Financial, the Herberts mentioned “We met Jim in 2004 when we bought our first house. We have always appreciated his wisdom and attention to detail. His attention to his clients and caring nature does not go unnoticed by us!”
The Herbert’s feel farming is a great responsibility. “We feel truly fortunate, blessed, and called to do what we do. It hasn't always been easy, but God continues to sustain us and bless us.”