GFM Network News


A view from outside of the kitchen along the mess tent.

Lesson 3: From tree planting to farming

When you get your own feet under you, that’s the time to pull others up

Over my last two columns relating my experience as a cook at a tree planting camp to my life as a farmer, I explored two aspects of tree planting that seem to be an opposite ends of the balance beam: the immediacy of the task at hand and the need for rest. Through my work […] Read more

The mess tent looking relatively tidy in the afternoon — the calm before the treeplanter storm.

Lesson 2: You can’t make supper tomorrow

For camp cooks, or farmers, there’s no such thing as a last-minute vacation day

In my last column I talked about the need for rest, even idleness as a tree planting cook. I needed to rest because I needed to be on top of my game every single day. I was the backstop in the kitchen and as the cook you end up feeling like a vital backstop for […] Read more


A tree planting camp in early spring. The kitchen on the left, the walk-in cooler centre, and the mess tent on the right.

Lesson 1: Everyone needs a cigarette break

The lessons Sarah Hoffmann learned at a tree planting camp have paid off on the farm

I was a cook in a tree planting camp for three summers in my early 20s. It’s been 10 years since I first packed up my Pontiac Sunfire and headed north from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C. No experience in my adult life has had such a profound impact on me. It’s one of the […] Read more