Meet Katrina McQuail… an organic farmer from Huron County, Ontario with an insatiable appetite for clean living and building communities through traditional ‘back to the earth’ sustainable principles.
Born and raised on her families farm, Katrina has harboured a love of the great outdoors for as long as she can remember.
Adopting a Humpback Whale in elementary school was her first commitment to protecting the blue, and since then her passion has only grown; recently becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor to share her awe. passion and love of the aquatic world with others.
Committed to social justice, community building, and everything food, Katrina has worked in higher education, as a cook, in social change organizations, for governmental agencies and for businesses. With a focused interest in sustainability and building stronger communities, she keeps herself engaged by volunteering, travelling, running youth programs, cooking, and now taking over her family’s farm.
In between raising two of her young… Sneeze and Hiccup, adorable piggies of course, we fired our usual eXXpeditiongirl questions at Katrina to find out what she’s most looking forward to when she joins Amazon 2015 in a few short weeks. Here’s what she came back with…
Q: What colour is your toothbrush?
A: Orange and White
Q: If you could teleport where would you go and why?
A: Everywhere. There are too many places I would want to teleport.
Having spent a number of years in a job or volunteer positions that required a significant amount of plane travel, the idea of a quick, (I’m assuming clean energy) transit that doesn’t require hours in airports sounds thrilling.
Living in country as large as Canada and with a network of friends around the world, I can’t think of somewhere I wouldn’t want to teleport. But right now, Antarctica is pretty high up on my list.
Q: Who do you admire the most (dead or alive)?
A: My Grandmothers (dead) and my Mom (alive)
Q: What’s your top tip for reducing plastic use – what works for you?
A: This one is complicated. In building, I try to select products and materials that are natural and/or contain as little plastic as possible. When replacing items that have broken, I try to evaluate if it really needs to be replaced or if I can do without. Then I try to replace it with something that is not plastic.
I decline plastic bags at the grocery store, for purchases and at restaurants, and use my own reusable bags. I purchase most of my clothing second hand or get it as hand-me-downs which diminishes the amount of packaging an item creates. I try to hand make gifts for people out of natural materials- like wood or wool instead of buying things.
Q: If you could put just one thing at the top of your bucket list, what would it be?
A: Scuba Diving in the Red SeaScuba
Q: What does a perfect world look like to you?
A: One with no waste, no pollutants, no war and healthy local communities.
Q: What’s your biggest fear?
A: Being alone for the rest of my life…. and spiders!
Q: Favourite flavour ice-cream?
Q: Who would be your 4 ultimate dinner party guests (dead or alive)?
A: John Steinbeck, Jacques Cousteau, Rachel Carson & John Candy
Q: Where would you go if you were invisible?
A: I would go diving. Being invisible would allow me to see all of the flora and fauna without them knowing I was there
Q: If you owned your own Yacht, what would you call her?
A: HMS McQuaka
Q: What have you done that you are most proud of?
A: Created an environment on my farm where just about anyone can show up, wherever they are in life, and feel welcome. I have cultivated a personality for a place, as if it was a being, and have made it so that a place has as much characteristic as a person, and can be just as loving, spontaneous and nurturing. And Running a Tough Mudder without having time to do any training. I was pretty proud of finishing.
Q: What would your Superhero power be?
A: Never needing to sleep / super-speed
Q: What piece of advice have you been given that was most rewarding?
A: In relationship to helping someone else out:
Sometimes you don’t feel like you have time to help someone else out, but if you spend half a day helping them… By the end of the week, you will barely notice that time away from your other projects. By the end of the month, it won’t have made a difference in your productivity, and by the end of the year, it won’t matter at all.
Q: What’s the most important thing you want to take away from your eXXpedition voyage?
A: Friendships. A new experience. Knowledge.
I see the eXXpedition voyage as an opportunity to connect with other women who are passionate about issues that are close to my heart. To educate myself more about plastics in our environment, specifically water, to learn about exposure to toxics and how to do a better job of avoiding them. I am excited to learn to sail.
Q: What’s your favourite marine animal and why?
A: All of the fish in the Tetraodontiformes family, but especially Porcupine Fish and Puffer Fish. I love their boxy shape, their ability to puff up and how absolutely adorable they are as juveniles.
Q: What’s the one thing that drives you crazy?
A: When people leave dirty dishwater in the sink and it gets cold.
I think there is going to be a huge Katrina shaped hole on the farm while Katrina is on Sea Dragon… I know this little fella is going to miss her lots! But what stories of adventure you’re going to be able to tell them when you get home.