Affordable land and welcoming community attract new farmers to region

Although affordable farmland prices made Thunder Bay an attractive option to explore, it was the welcome – and the land-hunting support – they received from the farm community that made Gwen and Brody Marsonet of Borderlands Farm decide to make their home here and raise one of Thunder Bay’s largest flocks of sheep for both meat and wool.

Although Brody is from the area, he didn’t grow up farming, and while Beverly and Bryan had years of mixed farming experience, they and Gwen came from southern Ontario. 

“We actually looked at a couple of different Northern communities,” Gwen told us.  “The cost of land was much more affordable up here.  People were very welcoming.  And it was actually local farmers that connected us with the place that we bought, it wasn’t through a real estate agent or anything like that.”

Brody agreed whole-heartedly, and went on to describe the impressive infrastructure that supports the farm sector here.  “We think of Thunder Bay as small but the infrastructure is still here to support farming,” he said.  “Yes, your dollar is stretched in terms of what you can purchase in farm land, but we have the Co-op [Thunder Bay Co-op Farm Supplies] close to us, gravel pits are nearby, tractor parts – anything you need to get, you can get.”

According to Farm Credit Canada’s 2021 Farmland Values Report, the median value per acre of farmland in Northern Ontario is $3,900 per acre.  Median prices in other regions of the Ontario range from $9,700 to $23,500 per acre. [1]

[1]  Accessed August 16, 2022.