September 1, 2015
On August 25th Thunder Bay Community Foundation (TBCF) Board Member, Lesley Bell hosted the Shirley H. & Meredith O. Nelson Scholarship Recipient, Derek Brekveld and Donor, Mr. Meredith Nelson.
To receive this scholarship, the student graduating from high school must live on a working farm in Northwestern Ontario. Derek has been farming on his father’s farm, Woodstar since he was six. As Derek got older, he took on more responsibility and began working full time on the summer months. “I pretty well learnt the meaning of a jack of all trades. For the past two years, I have been the only full time employee my dad has hired,” said Derek.
In 2013, Derek wasn’t sure if farming was the right path for him. He decided the best way to figure it out would be to try it out for himself. “That is when I decided to start a rabbit farm. I knew that meat rabbits would be low maintenance, so I could balance them with my busy lifestyle. The rabbits were low cost, meaning I could try raising them without a huge financial commitment. I sold rabbits on Kijiji and through word of mouth. I have owned over 100 rabbits over the course of the 3 years since I started. I made money, gained experience and decided that agriculture was the right path for me,” said Brekveld.
Mr. Nelson was pleased to meet Derek and discuss with him how much his family farm means to him. Mr. Nelson grew up on a farm and is happy that his family (His daughter Deborah Kraft started the Shirley H. & Meredith O. Nelson fund) was able to create this scholarship and give it to Derek who will be attending Ridge Town College where he will begin working towards an associate diploma in Agriculture.