Strengthening Rural Communities with Green Hectares

Today at FarmOn we talked with Lesley Pohl of Red Deer, AB who is a Community Connector working with Green Hectares.

A non-profit organization established in 2008, Green Hectares is a leader in bringing sustainability to the agriculture community, and fostering dynamic rural communities. Founded by a group of young leaders who are passionate about agriculture, Green Hectares works to create an environment where anyone with an interest in agriculture and food can thrive & prosper, no matter where they live. At Green Hectares we help develop opportunities for people to connect, collaborate & learn so they can be a thriving part of the agriculture industry, or a contributing force in their community.


Jen: Hi Lesley, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.Currently we know you are working in rural communities, but I am wondering what your background is as it relates to rural living or agriculture?

Lesley: Hi Jen, thanks very much for inviting me! I grew up & was actively involved with the herd health at our family feedlot located outside of Ponoka; as far back as I can remember I was riding barrel & cow horses & checking calves! I was actively involved in processing every fall from running the hydraulic squeeze to tagging, vaccinating, castrating & de-horning. I’ve been training horses since I was about 12 years old, primarily focusing on horses with specific emotional problems; for example a barrel horse that refuses to go up an alley into an arena; I got involved in Natural Horsemanship in 2003 & enjoy working with clinicians & learning new techniques & tips! This winter I started participating in cowboy challenge obstacle courses & my dad has jumped right on board & has an obstacle course set up at the feedlot!

Jen: Your role at Green Hectares is defined as a “Community Connector”, can you tell us a bit more about this role?

Lesley: Our motto is “Where people & opportunity meet” The Green Hectares Community Connector develops & taps into a network of existing educational programs, training & business services & brings them to people living in rural communities. Delivered online & in-person, I provide timely & easy access to programs & services for entrepreneurs, farmers & producers, families & community members. I am to ensure that people do not have to travel very far to get the resources, support & training they want.


Jen: Obviously you are spending a lot of time in rural communities. What challenges do you see in these communities?

Lesley: I guess specifically more in the remote communities distance is a great challenge; the personalized support provided in urban areas isn’t available in remote rural areas. This is why The Community Connector Programming is so amazing because we provide personalized support for entrepreneurs, small business owners, farmers & producers, families, young people & other rural community members.

Green Hectares takes training to the people regardless of location. We believe people should be able to learn in their own community & not have to travel far to get the support & information they need. Our services & support will be provided in community halls & meeting venues in every community, both big & small. The Connector ensures that people do not have to travel very far to get the resources, support & training they need.


Jen: What do you think the future looks like for our rural communities?

Lesley: Oh I think with all the great programs such as FarmOn & Green Hectares to name a couple, the future is bright, innovative & creative. The SKY is the limit!

Jen: Any thoughts on how we might best support these communities?

Lesley: I think organizations such as ours are supporting them in the most dynamic & creative ways. Green Hectares creates opportunities for people to connect, collaborate & learn so they can be a thriving part of the agriculture industry, or a contributing force in their community. It is our aim to support & build vibrant & sustainable communities in any way we can.

Jen: Again, thank you for chatting with us today Lesley. Can you tell us what events you will be attending or where people can meet you in the coming months?

Lesley: I’ll have a booth set up during the FCA Rodeo Finals Oct 5,6,7 in Red Deer at the Westerner Grounds; Also our booth will be set up at the Creating Rural Connections Conference at Olds College on October 11, 12 & 13th. Later on in October I’ll be attending the Agri-trade show in Red Deer as well as numerous community functions around the province! The common joke is that I am a gypsy so it’s best to email me or give me a quick call to find out what corner of the province I might be in!

There is no doubt that with individuals such as Lesley & the Green Hectares Organization, the future of our rural communities will be in good hands. If you wish to connect with Lesley or find out more about the Green Hectares programs please visit the Green Hectares website or contact Lesley at:

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