Photos by Lisa Enman Photography
In 2017 when Josee Gallant-Gordon and her husband Bobby Gordon decided to purchase Bobby’s family farm, the Rural Action Centre proved to be an invaluable resource to them in more ways than one.
Upon going to the bank to obtain the necessary financing, the couple discovered no option for them. Unsure what to do next, they decided to visit the Rural Action Centre in the nearby community of Alberton. Barb MacDonald, the Client Information Officer, greeted them as soon as they arrived and directed them to a list of options available to them at RAC.
“Any time we participate at any of the many services available at RAC, we are greeted with warmth and genuine interest in our business, and you can feel the desire for businesses to succeed,” says Josee.
After Josee and Bobby got to RAC, they felt optimistic, especially once they learned they could qualify through the CBDC. Beyond the essential financial resources, the couple was also able to participate in support programs to help them connect with the learning curve of managing the financial aspect of the business farm loans. Josee and Bobby consider these programs to be instrumental in helping them gain perspective of the business and make decisions that were right for them.
“The RAC gave us the much-needed start for our business and worked with us for financial payments that fit the nature of our business. I’m not sure where we would be without the RAC or how we would have purchased our farm. We feel very blessed,” says Josee.
No matter what happened, Josee and Bobby knew they had made the right decision by purchasing the farm. Alongside his grandfather, Bobby had spent 25 years taking care of the daily operations of the horses and the farm. Once Josee started to spend more time at the farm, she was drawn in and embraced the atmosphere, the energy and connection and learning with the horses. Josee has worked as a registered Social Worker for 14 years. In 2018 she started a part-time private practice which merged to full-time in 2019.
Then in 2019, she was fortunate to take some training that combined her passion for horses and helping people. Today, the couple owns Elm Grove Farm, which provides breeding services and raising Standardbred Horses. In addition, Elm Grove Farm is the central location where Elm Grove Centre provides Mental Health Services. It is a collaboration of their love of horses and a passion for mental health.
Elm Grove Centre offers clients a range of mental health services, including psychotherapy and equine psychotherapy. Elm Grove Centre uses a trauma-informed, person-centred approach to treatment and recovery. It draws from its variety of professional modalities deemed the most appropriate based on the person’s identified needs.
“Often, I find myself in awe of how blessed I am to embrace our space. I stand outside the offices and get a sensory connection of the farming atmosphere, sharing with the horses the sights, smells etc. The ambiance feels soothing and often feels surreal to me,” says Josee. “I feel blessed that we were able to carry on the work required by farming and strengthen ourselves as a team.”
Josee looks forward to what the future has in store for the Elm Grove Centre. They are always evolving to improve, she says.
“We have a sense of pride enhancing and working towards bettering our services, taking care of horses, and enhancing our offer of services of mental health for people.”
In these moments of gratitude, Josee does not forget about the Rural Action Centre’s role in their business success.
“It is important for RAC to exist to help entrepreneurs navigate and connect with available resources, to help enhance their businesses, which essentially helps provide better services to clients,” she says. “At various phases in business, we would encourage entrepreneurs to have a discussion with RAC, and explore for yourself what your dreams sound like shared out loud and explore the possibilities.”