The quarter section of land that makes up Room to Grow is the home of David Neufeld and Magdalene Andres, and childhood home of our four children. This beautiful, fruitful, Treaty 2 land has provided belonging and sustenance to humans for 10,000 years. One hundred and fifty years ago, Euro-settlers were offered freehold land from the ancestral territories of the Dakota, Nakota, Anishinabe Nations and the homeland of the Red River Metis. Indigenous neighbors and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission encourage history to be told truthfully and respectfully. We each belong to this land. Together we share in its care.
Magdalene (Maggie) Andres is a small town girl from Rosthern, Saskatchewan – just north of Saskatoon. David Neufeld is a farm boy from this area. We met at Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo, in Ontario, married, and spent ten years as volunteers for Mennonite Central Committee in South Africa, Saskatoon, and Lesotho, working in community development, appropriate technology, and administration.
Kholiswa (Kholi) was born under a lightning filled sky in ’84 at the Mthatha, South Africa hospital with mauve flowered Jacaranda trees up and down the street. Ezra was born during house renovations in ‘87 in his grandparents’ home a few kilometers from here. Teyana came to us in ‘89 in our tiny cement brick home in Maseru, Lesotho while her grandmother was visiting and making fresh bread and borsht. Jonah completed the family in ’90 at our home/MCC guesthouse in Maseru with an excited group of family, friends and neighbours waiting on the sidelines. Our children are now pursuing their own interests locally, in South Africa, and Australia. We also have three grandchildren!
Upon our return to Canada, we bought a century old church, moved it to the land, and made it our home. We also bought and rebuilt the Greenhouse in Boissevain. David managed the Room To Grow business and built up our capacity to make more of our living from our home, eventually moving the greenhouse production to Room to Grow where he specialized in medicinal herb and open pollinated vegetable bedding plants for markets around southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg. Maggie took additional university studies, and has been employed in the school system in various capacities, primarily as a resource teacher and admin.
Together with curious friends from near and far we built the Straw bale Guesthouse from 1996 to 2001 – as we had time and finances to do so. From 2016-2021, David focused on building our new home near the pond. We designed the new home to be off-grid, solar powered, and built into the hill with a rammed earth / timber frame construction. We again enjoyed the help of many friends and family. Your curiosity regarding our building methods is welcome. We’re happy to share stories.