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Praising the Prairies

Q&A with Lesley Kelley

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Lesley Kelly, a farmer, wife, mother, and the creator of High Heels and Canola Fields. I’m passionate about agriculture and people. I’m also an avid blogger, motivational speaker, podcast co-host, and co-founder of the Do More Agriculture foundation, focusing on mental health in Canadian agriculture. I’ve even launched my own snack food line called Martin Munchies, made from locally grown barley.

My farm is located in Watrous, Saskatchewan, where we cultivate a variety of crops on our 7,000 acre grain farm. Our values revolve around maintaining a healthy farm, soil, and resources, and nurturing the well-being of farmers. While I primarily handle financial, human resource, and business operations, I’m always ready to jump into the combine or tractor when needed.

My husband Matt and I share the same passions and values, and we’re delighted to see our sons, Jennings and Copeland, growing up on the farm, learning the importance of caring for the land and feeding families.

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What inspired you to start your blog and your overall brand “High Heels and Canola Fields”?

I started my blog, High Heels and Canola Fields, around 7 years ago when we were living in Edmonton and Regina. Through our snack food business, I interacted with urban customers who were curious about farming practices. Unfortunately, some misconceptions arose when they discovered that we didn’t adhere to certain methods and used tools like fertilizer and crop input products. This experience motivated me to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities, dispel myths

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I’m particularly passionate about mental health and policy in agriculture. Rural farmers face immense challenges, with nearly 60% experiencing anxiety and 75% dealing with mid to high levels of stress. Suicide rates among farmers using firearms are four times higher than the general population. Limited access to mental health resources and support in rural areas makes it crucial to raise awareness and eliminate stigma. By sharing my family’s experiences and advocating for mental health, I aim to ensure that future generations, including my own children, have the necessary support when they face difficulties.

I also advocate for science-based policy in agriculture. Decision-makers often lack a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in farming, leading to unintended consequences for farmers, rural communities, and the food system. I believe in growing healthy, affordable, and sustainable food while prioritizing the care of our soil, water, and natural resources. By promoting informed decision-making, we can secure a healthier future for all Canadians.

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Why do you think its important to speak up in support of other women in farming?

Supporting women in farming is essential because they bring unique skills, perspectives, and traits that contribute to the industry’s success. As a woman involved in marketing and finance within our farm operation, I understand the value of diverse perspectives. I mentor and share my knowledge to encourage more women and young farmers to engage in the industry. I’m encouraged by the positive changes I see, such as increased inclusivity and the presence of women in leadership roles and on agricultural boards.

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What has been your favourite part about growing up and living in the Prairies?

The best part of growing up and living on the Prairies is the sense of community. It’s a dream come true to raise our children where I grew up, surrounded by family and friends. The community has supported us during difficult times and celebrated with us during joyous moments. I couldn’t ask for a better community to build our family and create lasting connections.


Learn more about Lesley by visiting her website at  https://highheelsandcanolafields.com/ or following her on Instagram @highheelsandcanolafields  

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