加拿大美丽小岛需要人 来工作就送地
日期:2016-10-24 13:54


WHYCOCOMAGH, Nova Scotia —When a land-rich family in sparsely populated Cape Breton wanted toattract workers for its understaffed country store, it offered free land toanyone who would come and work for five years.

新斯科舍省怀科马——人烟稀少的布雷顿角岛(Cape Breton)上有一户人家拥有大量土地,为了吸引工人来自己缺少人手的乡村商店,他们向任何来这里工作五年的人免费赠送土地。

They expected a few dozenresponses; more than 50,000 poured in — and the calls keep coming.


“I expected a response, justnot one as huge as this,” said Sandee MacLean, a woman with multiple tattoosand copper red hair, who came up with the idea with her sister.

“我料到能得到回应,只是没想到反响这么大,”珊迪·麦克林(Sandee MacLean)说。她有一头铜红色头发,身上有多处纹身,她和姐妹一起想出了这个主意。

Of course, Canada has a lot ofland, but not a lot of people, and economically sleepy regions like Cape Bretonin Nova Scotia have steadily leaked population. The island, a scenic4,000-square-mile patch of rolling forest and farmland jutting into thenorthern Atlantic Ocean, has only about 130,000 residents and has been losingwell over 1,000 people a year for the last two decades.


As Cape Bretoners becomeincreasingly frantic about stemming the tide of outward migration, giving awayland just might be a solution.


“It is validation that land isan attraction,” said Chris van den Heuvel, president of the Nova ScotiaFederation of Agriculture. He hopes the strong response to the giveaway willhelp his group’s effort to create a land bank that would make farmlandaffordable and bring newcomers to the province.

“土地肯定具有吸引力,”新斯科舍农业联合会(Nova Scotia Federation ofAgriculture)主席克里斯·范登赫费尔(Chris van den Heuvel)说。他希望土地赠送引发的强烈反响能对他的组织创立地产银行带来帮助——地产银行将让人们买得起田地,吸引更多人来这个省。

Several economically depressedcommunities in the United States have tried the same idea in recent years,including towns in Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota.


There is a long history of givingland away. European powers that wanted to populate their New World possessions,as well as Canada and the United States in their youth, gave land to anyone whowould settle on it and make improvements.


But in Nova Scotia, theoverwhelming response is also a measure of how many people, unmoored by theglobal economy, are hungry for a sense of community. To many, the proposalseemed to present a connection to a famously rich regional culture full ofScottish fiddling, community suppers and square dancing.


All of that was far from mindwhen Jim and Ferne Austin decided to turn their store over to their daughtersthis year. For the two women, Ms. MacLean and Heather Austin Coulombe, the mostimmediate concern was where to find employees.

今年,吉姆和费恩·奥斯汀夫妇(Jim and Ferne Austin)决定把商店交付给两个女儿打理。现在发生的一切完全出乎他们的意料。对麦克林和希瑟·奥斯汀·库隆布(Heather Austin Coulombe)这两个女人来说,最迫切的问题是去哪里找雇员。

“We were in a panic, we wereso short staffed,” Ms. Coulombe said.


The Austins opened thebusiness, the Farmer’s Daughter Country Market, in 1992 in Whycocomagh, NovaScotia, after a life spent dairy farming. The combination bakery, producemarket, ice cream parlor, fudge factory and gift shop now occupies a collectionof barn-red buildings along the side of the road on a quiet stretch of theTrans-Canada Highway.

奥斯汀夫妇干了大半辈子乳制品工作,1992年在新斯科舍怀科马开设了这个名叫“农夫女儿乡村市场”的公司。它包括面包房、农产品市场、冰激凌店、乳脂软糖厂和礼品店,位于跨加拿大高速公路(Trans-Canada Highway)一个安静地段旁边的一片谷仓红建筑群里。

Mr. Austin’s father, also adairy farmer, had amassed more than 600 acres; after sell-offs, about 200 acresremain. The land that is left is mostly mountain woodland — pretty to see, butnot of much value unless it were logged. No one in the family wants to shavethe hillsides for that.


By the end of this summer, thecountry market was down by three full-time workers, making it difficult to meeta local grocery chain’s demand for baked goods from the Farmer’s Daughter. Thebaking business helps the operation stay afloat in the bleak winter months.


Ms. MacLean and Ms. Coulombetried hiring locally, but said capable and dependable hands were not available.The visa process for foreign workers was too cumbersome, too.


That is when they came up withthe idea of giving away land.


The women put together aquestionnaire that emphasized commitment and values and made it clear that theland they were giving away was remote and well off the grid.


At around 10 p.m. one Sundayin late August, the sisters posted a gentle appeal on the market’s Facebookpage under the title, “Beautiful Island Needs People.”

去年八月一个星期天的晚上,10点左右,姐妹俩在该市场的Facebook主页上发了一条温和的恳求贴,名叫“美丽的小岛需要人”(Beautiful Island NeedsPeople)。

In about 500 words theyoffered a job, community and two acres of land to anyone who would come andwork at the market for five years. They have since raised the offer to three acresto allow for a septic system.


By morning, the appeal hadbeen shared 200 times. By afternoon, a local radio station had called for aninterview. Soon national radio and television stations were calling and theland offer was the top trending news story on the Canadian BroadcastingCorporation’s website. When the report was picked up around the world, thefloodgates opened.

到第二天早上,她们的帖子已被转发200次。到了下午,当地一家电台打来电话,要求进行采访。很快,全国电台和电视台也打来电话,土地赠送成了加拿大广播公司(Canadian BroadcastingCorporation)网站上最热门的新闻故事。这则报道在全世界流传开来后,一发不可收拾。

The sisters had already zeroedin on several candidates well before their appeal went viral. Within a week ofthe original post they had interviewed the people they eventually hired.


The newcomers consist of threefamilies: the Andersons, the Walkinses and the Taits, who arrived in time forCanada’s Thanksgiving on Oct. 10. The Austins, the parents of the sisters whoare taking over the store, invited them all to their home for a traditionalfeast, the biggest Thanksgiving dinner they had ever put on, they said.


Over plates of turkey andturnips and local condiments like the Farmer’s Daughter Cape Breton chow (arelish made with green tomatoes), the families appeared to blend effortlessly.


All three families said thatit was the promise of community in a simpler, beautiful place that was thebiggest attraction. Each parcel of land is worth only a few thousand Canadiandollars, and Cape Breton has plenty of land for sale.


“I never even asked about theland,” said Sonja Anderson, a former mortgage banker who drove nine days acrossthe country from Vancouver, British Columbia, with her 10-year-old daughter andtwo dogs.

“我甚至从未问过地的事儿,”索尼娅·安德森(Sonja Anderson)说。她曾是一名抵押贷款银行业者。她带着十岁的女儿和两条狗从不列颠哥伦比亚省温哥华市开了九天车,穿过整个国家来到这里。

Micah Tait said that he andhis wife, Trish, had long dreamed of making such a move. “Everything wasexactly what we were hoping to work toward and we just took a sort ofshortcut,” he said.

迈卡·泰特(Micah Tait)说,他和妻子特里什(Trish)一直梦想这么做。“一切正是我们所向往的,我们只是抄了捷径,”他说。

Both said they missed the“feeling of belonging” in their life in Vancouver, where they worked assecurity guards.


When Brett Walkins lost hisjob in British Columbia as a project manager building wastewater treatmentplants, he and his wife, Kerry, sold their house, bought a truck and acamper-trailer and headed down the North American coast.

布雷特·瓦尔金斯(Brett Walkins)曾在不列颠哥伦比亚做项目经理,修建废水处理厂。失去工作后,他和妻子克丽(Kerry)卖了房子,买了一辆卡车和一个露营拖车,向北美海岸驶去。

Months later, having traversedthe continent with two children and two dogs, they were on Prince EdwardIsland, west of Cape Breton, biting their nails over bidding on a new house.

几个月后,他们带着两个孩子和两条狗穿越整个大陆,来到布雷顿角岛以西的爱德华王子岛省(Prince Edward Island),怀着紧张的心情竞拍一座新房。

“An hour after we found outsomeone else had bought the house, I saw the Farmer’s Daughter post,” Ms. Walkinssaid. Mr. Walkins emailed that day under the subject line, “communityopportunity.”


“That’s what spoke to me,” hesaid. “To be welcomed into what we could tell was a close-knit family.”


Mr. Walkins has already walkedon the land, accessible by a muddy logging road, looking for a building site,while his wife has taken up her duties baking pies and making fudge. The coupleplan to construct a solar-powered, self-sustaining home.


The new arrivals havechallenges ahead. They arrived in the midst of Cape Breton’s beautiful fallfoliage display, but a long frigid winter and then the region’s famous blackfly season await.


Along with an uptick inbusiness, the publicity has had other consequences for the Farmer’s Daughter. Alocal couple have offered the sisters 42 acres they do not use. Televisionproducers have called to talk about a possible reality show or, more to thesisters’ tastes, a documentary series tracking the newcomers’ integration intothe community and their development of the land.