This is Aaron Shantz — Our Food SENB’s Coordinator
When I first met him at the Clementine Café on Elmwood Drive in Moncton, Aaron Shantz couldn’t shake hands because he had this massive gash from some accident with metal at his house. It looked painful and he made it sound like he had been incredibly stupid and clumsy.
The other thing I remember about that first interview is that he said his wife was probably better connected to food security skills than he was because he was just a forestry guy, his original career being in GIS for big corporations – the ‘devil’, as he calls them – helping them to cut corners around environmental policy. “It made me sick.”
But this is who Aaron is now. He and Shelley bought an abandoned farm and they’ve turned it into a homestead. In the photos you can see why Our Food SENB might think him suited to the job of coordinating food actions.
Aaron and Shelley have committed to the idea of a way of life they believe more people must turn to if we’re to survive on this planet. “I’m an idealist,” he says and the ideal is, “can someone start from scratch with no financial help from anyone else and actually provide for themselves and live with a low environmental footprint?”
The original plan was for Aaron to work some minimum wage job while Shelley grew their food. Aaron got jobs like welding plastic tanks for fire trucks, picking corn, and milking goats. “We were going to live agricultural bliss,” Aaron said, but “surviving in Kent County has been a real journey.” And then kids started happening. “We never factored having a kid.” Or two.
“I know a lot of people have the ideal (of food security and a light environmental footprint) but it seems like a really hard thing and that all the things that are needed don’t exist yet and that our generation has to learn those things. Maybe in a couple of generations we’ll have it figured out.” Aaron Shantz, Coordinator of Our Food Southeast New Brunswick.