The Rural Woman of the Year Award is given to women who have made a difference and are valued members of the farming community, said Donna Brown, president of the Cobble Hill Women’s Institute as members of the South Vancouver Island Women’s Institute gathered recently to present the award to Katy Ehrlich of Alderlea Farm.
If you already know her, it’s not surprising.
Ehrlich is a farmer, educator and a cook who “embodies the principles of sustainable food production and distribution, stewardship for the earth and building community,” Brown said.
In partnership with her husband, John, Katy has led the way in terms of biodynamic farming, CSA development, supporting the farmers market, and being a strong advocate for local organic farming and local food purchasing.
“Furthermore, she has been a tireless and inspirational community-builder,” Brown continued. “Alderlea’s CSA program providing for 200 members, new farmer education through their internship and volunteer program, the community cafe on site serves over 90 per cent of produce from Alderlea or local producers. Every project has been very consciously designed to develop community.
“Katy has similarly brought people together and inspired them through her work and involvement at Sunrise Waldorf School.”
In fact, Ehrlich came out of “retirement” to re-enter teaching of a class desperately in need of her strength, compassion and skill, at a time when her commitment to Alderlea’s ventures was already a full-time endeavour.
“That speaks to her commitment to the community as well as the high respect the community feels for her. A real rural woman. Congratulations Katy.”