Anne Livingston

When the family started Broadway Farm’s Market in 2002, Anne kept the books and did the baking for the shop.

June 20, 2019 | | Over the Next Hill

Snapshot: Meet a Community Elder

A Scrabble board sits in the living room of the charming 1896 home where Anne Livingston arrived as a bride in 1952. The board is waiting for the daily game Anne plays with her daughter-in-law Janine.

Anne met her future husband, Aubrey, when he was kind enough to drive her home to Weston from a dance both were attending in Pine Grove. They married a year later, and Anne began her life on the 100-acre Caledon farm where, she says, there was a great deal to learn. Quickly.

Shortly after arriving in Caledon, young Anne was drafted by a neighbour to help with a local political campaign. The experience inspired a pattern of volunteering in her new community, as well as a continuing interest in politics. Since then she has been involved with local, provincial and federal campaigns – and names former Caledon mayor Marolyn Morrison as one of her heroes.

Anne and Aubrey produced three sons, Andy, Roy and Jim, and gradually built up a herd of 100 registered Holsteins. When Aubrey installed the area’s first automated milking parlour, the novel innovation attracted widespread attention.

Sadly, Aubrey died of a heart attack in 1976, but Anne carried on, raising their boys and continuing to build the herd, which topped out at 250 milking head, and in 1988 she became the first woman to receive the Brampton-Caledon Farmer of the Year Award.

Anne also continued to learn and to volunteer in the community. She was involved with the Mayfield United Church, chaired Caledon’s committee of adjustment for 20 years and Peel Region’s land division committee for five. She also served on the executives of the Brampton Curling Club and the local Cancer Society, and was instrumental in the initiative of the Peel branch of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to make the work of farmers more relevant to city folk.

Then, when the family started Broadway Farm’s Market in 2002, Anne kept the books and did the baking for the shop. Though the market has since closed, she still does the books for the farming operation, which now focuses on cash crops.

Anne Livingston was the first woman to receive the Brampton-Caledon Farmer of the Year Award. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Anne Livingston was the first woman to receive the Brampton-Caledon Farmer of the Year Award. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Over the years, Anne taught five of her seven grandchildren the fundamentals of economics by selling cattle compost for cash, which was used to buy laying hens. The eggs were then sold, bringing in enough money to buy fruit, which was turned into jam and sold locally. To the kids’ dismay, the money collected during these business operations went into their RRSPs. Board meetings were held at a Swiss Chalet in Brampton.

Although Anne’s life has narrowed recently as she has been recovering from a broken hip, she says she wouldn’t change anything. “If it weren’t for the bad times, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good ones,” she says.

About the Author More by Gail Grant

Gail Grant is a freelance writer who lives in Palgrave.

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