The McQuail’s – Tony and Fran started Meeting Place Organic Farm in 1973 on this 100 acre property with only the old barn (now called the Lodge) standing. They worked on and off of the farm for the first number of years, built all of the buildings that we now enjoy by hand with the help of friends and family, and raised their 2 girls – Rachel and Katrina. In 1994 they took a Holistic Resource Management course which drastically changed their lives for the better; making it so that they didn’t need to work off of the farm, and enabling the family to take family holidays during the summer. Learn more about Holistic Management and the other education and consulting work that Tony and Fran do here.
Tony McQuail – born and raised in rural Pennsylvania; Tony immigrated to Canada in the early 1970’s. Always an avid outdoorsman, and with a passion for farming, he started his life in Canada working on a dairy farm in Saltford, ON while he finished up his high schooling in Goderich. After hitch hiking across the country, looking for the best location for his future farm, Tony came back to the rolling hills of northern Huron County in part because of the growing season for tomatoes! Tony completed a degree from the University of Waterloo. Tony has done many things those early years. Tony and Fran were part of staring what is now known as the Ecological Farmer’s Association. They has mentored and supported a number of future farmers through summer apprenticeships on the farm. They’ve designed courses for universities, taught Holistic Management (and still do) and are the proud grandparents of Emily and Elliot.
Fran (Fuson) McQuail – Born and raised in Richmond, Indiana; Fran completed a degree in Biology at Earlham College, thinking she would go on to become a veterinarian. Changing her path slightly, she moved up to Ontario and joined Tony just outside of Lucknow to create what is now known as Meeting Place Organic Farm. Fran is a powerhouse of knowledge about plants and animals. For years she ran the Community Shared Agriculture (garden) at the farm and now does seed saving for a couple different organizations. Fran supported the farm in the early years by doing off-farm work for the local libraries and assisted living centre. Both Tony and Fran have been involved in local politics, working hard to make the world they believe in a reality. Fran has just received the Agnes McPhail award.
Katrina McQuail – Born and raised in Huron County on the farm; Katrina took a round about way back to becoming a farmer. Spending over 10 years away, Katrina completed a degree in Business and Not For Profit Management and a minor in French at Earlham College in Indiana before going on to work in the culinary industry, traveling through Central America, working for government and corporate agencies before running a wonderful social change not-for-profit in Guelph for 4 years. Katrina does extensive volunteer work for a couple different organizations, mostly focused on youth and young adults as well as the environment. She is a PADI Open Water Scuba instructor as well as the conference organizer for Pendle Hill’s annual young adult Friend conference. Passionate about all things farmy – but especially pigs, Katrina is excited to be back, taking over the farm business. In 2017 Katrina will be co-clerking FGC’s annual summer Gathering.
Rachel, Elliot and Emily McQuail and Robin Sanders – Though they are not currently living at the farm or actively part of the farm management team, Rachel and Robin and their two kids, Emily and Elliot are still very much a part of our farm family. Over the years Rachel (and then Rachel and Robin) have farm sat for Tony and Fran when they were away, coming up with one of the favourite canning recipes – Zucchini salsa. Rachel was raised on the farm and had a special passion for our riding horses and was the instigator of what became Rachel and Katrina’s summer job of raising meat chickens. Robin’s passion for fruit and nut trees improves the diversity of our orchard each year. They make it up to the farm as much as their busy lives allow, and Emily and Elliot help to renew the awe and wonder with which we see the farm (instead of only seeing the work yet to be done).