Linda Soldatitz uses her experience on the farm and her pottery skills to teach people how to reclaim their energy and reconnect with their authentic selves in natural ways.
Few people seem to have truly found “pure harmony,” and even fewer can share that feeling, but Linda Soldatitz has found a practical way.
The Bradford farmer and artist is known for both her Seed to Feed harvest boxes filled with natural vegetables and her rustic artwork, including her pottery and pottery workshops.
Born and raised in Bradford, Soldatitz works on the same family farm where her father and mother grew, growing the same heirloom peppers, tomatoes, kale, zucchini and eggplant that her father brought to Canada. We grow and sell products. In Hungary.
“I have some tomato seeds that someone saved from about 1846,” Soldatitz said, noting the purple color.
The tradition of unaltered plants speaks to Mr. Shouldatit, as people had to care for and appreciate the seeds year after year in order to continue using them.
She also grows garlic and specialty herbs that can be used in tea. All plants are started in a greenhouse and moved to pots just before the annual plant sale, just before the Victoria Day weekend.
Whatever doesn’t sell, she plants in the field.
The farm has two fields of about 7.5 acres each, some of which are rented out, and Soldertitz uses about half for small-scale gardening.
“I moved my farm to small batch because I want everything to be natural. I want to feed people good food and that’s the best way I know how to do it,” she says. said.
This means that the farm does not spray any of the plants with pesticides, which means a lot of extra labor.
Not only is everything hand-planted, but it also requires extensive care in a greenhouse before transplanting, and even with ground cover, weeding and dealing with pests are necessary.
Despite all the planning and effort to preserve nature and get the best yields, Soldatitz admits that farming always comes with risks.
“It’s like a calculated consideration,” she said.
Still, Soldatitz wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love this farm. I keep everything very simple and humble and I think that’s part of the key to farming the way we do,” she said. Ta.
Part of her aversion to field spraying stems from Shouldatz’s desire to live in harmony with nature, including the bees who live in the farm’s six hives. The farm also has a wildflower section where bees can enjoy sunflowers, echinacea, lavender and bee balm. She has also naturalized and filled some areas with goldenrod.
In the spring, she grows microgreens in a greenhouse and lets them bloom so the bees can come in and eat them.
“There are flowers in the greenhouse that my father originally planted. They drop seeds and fill the greenhouse, and the bees love it, so I leave them behind,” she said.
In return, bees pollinate plants and provide farms with sweet, golden honey.
“We literally take it out of the nest and into the bottle,” Soldatitz said. “The only food that doesn’t rot is honey. It was found in Egyptian tombs, and to them it was like liquid gold, and it’s still liquid gold.”
But her concern for harmony with nature goes beyond her planting methods and beekeeping, including caring for two special chickens rejected by her siblings in a greenhouse during spring, summer, and fall. Also included.
“There was a pecking order and they almost died,” Soldatitz said, explaining how he nursed them back to health by feeding them organic hemp hearts and greenhouse vegetables. “They went from being on the verge of death to now being unrecognizable.”
As winter approaches, Mr. Shouldatz is preparing to move the sheep into a small barn he has built for them, and plans for the two older sheep to spend the rest of their days on the farm in the spring. .
To help the plants in the greenhouse grow, Sholderitz plays acoustic music for them, and unlike most people, he doesn’t mind if rabbits come inside.
“My theory about rabbits is that I have a lot of them, so you can have some, and we have some,” she said, and the rabbits pulled out a whole row of something. He said he had never experienced any serious damage or injuries.
Although there may be a few nibbles here and there from time to time, Shouldatz understands that rabbits need to live, too.
“Everything is treated with respect here, and I feel like it’s the same tradition that our parents taught us about farming,” she said. “It’s all about respect, appreciation and tradition.”
Appreciation and respect for others also influences her art.
Soldatitz graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in 1995 and went on to work for a photographer in Toronto before establishing her own studio in Ottawa and designing home interiors.
But she eventually returned to the farm, where she raised her three children, ages 21, 18, and 17.
She started teaching pottery nine years ago and has been working with pottery for over 30 years.
“When I teach pottery, it’s no different than how I grew up, playing in the mud. I’m actually just teaching people how to be children,” she said. Ta.
She recently converted a barn into her own studio and began offering lessons, but she also teaches basic pottery classes for adults at the Pine Tree Potters Guild in Aurora.
While Aurora’s classes typically teach 10 to 12 students at a time, Soldatitz offers private and semi-private lessons in her studio, with classes as small as four at a time. I like teaching. We also plan to hold workshops that typically have six to eight participants at a time.
Soldatitz finds it “very interesting” to see the changes in her students, as many of them begin with anxiety, which is replaced by childlike excitement and curiosity. She attributes this to the relaxing and rejuvenating properties rooted in earth and clay.
“I truly believe that art is therapy,” she says, noting that as we all grow up and become overwhelmed with responsibilities, we forget what makes us happy or have little time for it. Then he pointed out. She said, “Everyone has the right to have their own time and feel like a kid again, because that’s kind of magical.”
With a rustic, rustic style, Soldertitz enjoys incorporating prints and foil stamping into her pottery. Pottery may also include reclaimed wood, wire, and other materials from farms.
One of her upcoming projects aims to reuse clay taken from beneath the house, adding to it and turning it into glazes for other pieces.
“I always have ideas. Ideas never stop,” she said.
Soldatitz says she comes up with many of her ideas on quiet nights under the string lights of the greenhouse, but she says she’s inspired by the ever-changing nature of the farm as a whole, including watching her students grow. He said he felt it.
She also draws inspiration from Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter known for her self-portraits.
“She was very energetic and very original. She was her true self and painted her true self. Artists like that inspire me as well,” Soldatitz said. Ta.
She’s not sure exactly when her style was formed, but she’s sure it reflects her “farm girl” roots.
“There’s a meaning to being authentic when you accept yourself for who you are. You don’t need people to understand you, you have to earn yourself, and once you Once you get it, you’re good,” she said.
In that spirit, Szoldatits sculpts pottery based on what she wants or is inspired to create, and if someone wants to buy it, “that’s a huge compliment.”
She usually avoids requests, but there was one special request she couldn’t refuse. It turns out that her mother wanted an urn to hold her son’s ashes.
The commission has become “the most difficult project I’ve ever been asked to do,” and Soldatitz said she doesn’t feel unable to do justice for the woman’s son, especially since she’s never met him. I was worried.
After struggling to get the piece going for about six months, Soldatitz asked for a photo of the 28-year-old musician and some of the music he listened to in his quiet moments.
Then one day, inspiration struck and as the urn took shape, she carved an image into it, including the image of her son.
Soldatitz recalled that her mother cried tears of gratitude for the work, but Soldatitz refused to accept payment.
Another important work can be seen regularly in the studio and travels to art shows with Soldatitz. This wooden display case was the last one Mr. Soldatitz made with his father before his death seven years ago.
Soldatitz remembers making it together in the greenhouse on cold days. While she was busy cutting with the chop saw, her father used a wire brush to remove dirt stuck in her grain.
“He stopped and asked me, ‘Do you need this?’ And I said, ‘Well, it makes me happy,’ and he said, ‘Oh, okay.’ I just kept scrubbing and scrubbing,” she recalled. “He never said no to anything he knew would feed my goodness or make me happy.”
Soldatitz has been out in the fields with his parents since he was 6 months old, preparing boxes of produce with his older sister at age 4, and his father teaching him how to drive a large flatbed truck at age 8. I have fond memories of those times.
After spending a lot of time by his father’s side, Soldatitz inherited his interest in rescuing animals and his desire to foster goodwill in people.
Last year before he passed away, her father gave her a piece of land to cultivate herself and the farm began to transition to a new approach.
“It’s not exactly the way my father ran it, but I’m from a different generation so it could be something different. “I want this farm to be a farm for people because things really matter,” Soldatitz said.
In addition to everything already going on at the farm, Soldatitz plans to offer lessons that combine art and agriculture starting in the spring.
Some classes may teach proper seeding and transplanting techniques before people enter the studio and learn how to make planters. By expanding from six hives to up to 17 next year, he also hopes to teach people how to keep bees before teaching them how to make them. honey pot.
With winter approaching, Soldatitz is preparing to scale back his business in January and February to give him time to rest. I also want to use this time to plan next year’s planting and classes.
In the meantime, anyone interested in the Harvest Box program can visit seedtofeedco.ca or call 905-716-7613. Also, if you are interested in pottery classes, visit seedtofeedcostore.ca.