« Producer Spotlight

Highlighting fruit and vegetable producers from across Canada in 2021

The Jungle Farm – Leona Staples

Innisfail, Alberta

We are a century farm located in Innisfail, Alberta. We were a grain and cattle farm until 1996, when my husband, children and I moved back home to begin to carry on the farming tradition. That is when "The Jungle Farm" began. We grow a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers and we continue to grow our repertoire as our customers request.

Why do you grow this produce?

Our location just off of highway 2 makes our location exceptional for a farm market. Our climate also produce a better tasting product.

What makes your location (or greenhouse) ideal for these crops?

We have a cooler climate especially at night which allows the sugars of the plants to assimilate which makes a tastier crop.

Where do you market your produce?

Our farm stand, U-pick, 20+ local markets and a few wholesale chains

How long have you and your family produced fruits and vegetables?

25 years

How many acres/hectares/square feet (in the case of greenhouses) do you crop?

We manage around 900 acres which include grains for rotation

What sustainability and technology practices do you use in your operation to grow your crops to their fullest potential?

Water efficiency is essential to our farm and we use drip irrigation, plastic mulch, fertigation and overhead irrigation. The use of water sensors and temperature sensors allow us to be as efficient as possible. We use covers crops, rotations, various cultivation techniques, soil & sap testing, and various propagation methods for our fruit crops to help produce the best quality fruits and vegetables.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start growing their own fruits and vegetables at home?

Learn from local connections to see what grows best in your area. Draw from local knowledge so that you may be as successful as possible with crops and varieties that work for your growing conditions.

Tell the world why you farm. Do you have any words you'd like to share with studentsabout agriculture.

I want my customers to learn where their food comes from. Creating good memories and experiences by visiting my farm is meaningful either through our Upicks, school tours, or the market. Teaching students and adults alike how diverse and broad agriculture with so many career opportunities is is my passion.

Do you have a favourite recipe using the produce you grow?

Our family favourites are spinach lasagna or short rib with roasted veggies with chocolate zucchini cake or pumpkin muffins for dessert.