February 16, 2021
Last fall we introduced a new series for our blog which focuses on the center of our tagline, “Growing Food, Growing People, Growing Communities:” Growing People. This allows us to introduce you to some of the most valuable resources we have at Vermillion Growers.
Once our glass greenhouse structure is built and our technology, including our advanced irrigation system, is up and running, the spotlight will immediately shine on our very own Tera Pasternak .
Tera holds two titles at Vermillion: Junior Grower and Crop Scout, roles which are absolutely vital to our precision agriculture model. As Junior Grower, Tera will be monitoring our state of the art technology, testing water, maintaining temperatures, and ensuring the acreage is performing optimally. As Crop Scout, she will be maintaining the integrated pest control program and specifically walking the greenhouse to provide boots on the ground data to keep things running most efficiently. The two roles complement each other, and Vermillion is thrilled to have someone with Tera’s background and passion on the team.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Tera holds a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. Long before that, Tera grew up on a farm, tending 400 head of cattle. And while Tera imagined she would spend her professional life in Manitoba with either cattle or grain, she is thrilled to be an integral part of the Vermillion Growers team, working with tomatoes.
Tera’s love for growing to feed others is a passion, and it started early in life.
“When I was really small we had a garden, which I loved, but my mother didn’t, so it didn’t last very long,” Tera recalls. "But when I was 11 or 12, we had a neighbour with a huge garden with all kinds of flowers. She made the mistake of taking me to a greenhouse, and it all sort of happened from there,” Tera relates.
Tera started to garden on her own, and later moving to her own place, continued the practice, mainly out of the joy of it. Animated and excitedly, Tera describes how she loves "watching things grow from a seed until you get to eat them."
"You can watch them grow in front of your eyes if you want to,” she laughs.
It was while at University that, although Tera expected to evetually work with livestock, she learned all about sustainability. After moving to Dauphin, Tera heard about our upcoming greenhouse project and discovered sustainability would be an integral part.
“Mark (Kohan, Vermillion Growers CFO) and I both get our hair cut at the same place,” Tera confesses with a laugh. "She (Sherry, their hair stylist) told me about the greenhouse and when I contacted Mark, he sent me over videos about the project, and I just fell in love with it,” she continues. “This is everything I learned in school being put to use!”
Tera is passionate about sustainability, food security, and food sovereignty, pillars of the Vermillion Growers raison d’être. “We have to feed the world now and for generations to come,” Tera believes. “My great grandchildren can be fed because of new ways of doing things,” Tera says as she compares the traditional farming she grew up with and the farming with technology she will help manage at our state-of-the-art glass greenhouse.
When it comes to applying her education and passion to her work at Vermillion, Tera is excited. “I’m all about working smarter and not harder,” she claims. "Seeing how everything in the greenhouse works together to make the plants the best they can be, it’s exciting,” she continues.
Tera quite succinctly marries our vision and her passion as she declares, “We’re going to have to feed people for years to come, and I get to grow things!”