Finding your place. Where you fit in life is a challenge we all tackle. What do you want to be when you grow up? What to study in school? What tribe or friends will accept you? What are your skills? Where is your ‘fit’ in the universe and life?
The opportunities are endless and the pressure to succeed high. The struggle is real.
But when you find your place and your passion, it’s a beautiful thing. Truly life changing.
Caitlin MacLeod never felt that she quite fit the typical mold of a downtown Torontonian. It might be hard to believe, but farming was her life changer. She most certainly is a natural fit to farming.
She attributes that to her “deep love for animals and the outdoors.” And her mom always knew this to be true.
It wasn’t the concrete jungle that pushed Caitlin out of the city. Her passion for equine management and wanderlust spirit showed her much of Canada, the US, the UK and New Zealand as a young adult.
It was the English countryside that “had a large part in influencing my love of the rural lifestyle.” Experiencing new cultures and scenery so picturesque it’s Instagram worthy, was a true luxury Caitlin says.
Days of globetrotting continents with majestic equine beasts has now evolved to a full-time home base in Oxford County. She now chases around the canine and bovine species, plus three children with her husband Jared on the dairy farm. Darcroft Farms has become her reality.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew it would have to involve animal production/agriculture,” Caitlin recalls. And as fate would have it, her time spent at the University of Guelph provided lasting friendships, unforgettable memories and a bright future. Most notably during this time, the infamous Stampede Ranch provided the beginning of her love story with Jared.
Married in 2010, a full-time career with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, three children and a new barn build in 2016, Caitlin has continued to find her fit with new challenges and experiences. While sleep is precious these days with a newborn and two other energetic kids, she takes great pride and “can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Her keen instincts and days as a Grober alumni raising calves at the Grober Young Animal Development Centre have lent well to her now farm responsibilities of caring for and feeding the calves at Darcroft Farms. “The sense of accomplishment I get from doing really meaningful work, knowing the calves I feed will grow to be healthy milk cows, producing high quality Canadian milk for the population,” give Caitlin motivation and a positive outlook.
Positivity gets you a long way on the farm. Things will go wrong. Kids will exhaust you. But the beautiful moments on the farm and way of life are worth it for Caitlin and her family.
Being “raised with parents who showed me that nothing ever comes free. Working hard and being kind to others was instilled in me at a very young age. I still strive for those qualities every day,” says Caitlyn.
When we think of farming, it’s a pretty close community with many growing up on the farm and involved directly in the industry. But like Caitlin so many of the greatest people in farming have noticed the beauty from afar and joined the community for the better.
Her kids now have that opportunity. “I’m happiest watching my kids grow and learn in this environment. They have such a great perspective on where their food comes from, one I hope they don’t take for granted.”
By every definition, Caitlin has found her fit in farming at Darcroft Farms. With Jared, her brother-in-law Kyle and in-laws Paul and Ellen. Exactly where she is meant to be. Her true fit.