August 2017 – Karen Walker
Karen Walker: A Latecomer to the Farm
Among Friends’ volunteers, Karen Walker is an exception to the general rule. While many volunteers have a longstanding connection to the Farm, it didn’t become part of her life until four years ago.
Karen moved from Alberta to Ottawa in 1974 and with a Masters in Management Science from the University of British Columbia in hand, joined the public service. Five years later, she became part of an internal consulting group that provides management consulting services to other federal departments. In 2011, Karen “officially” retired, but continued to work part time on contract for the next six years.
As the end of her professional life drew near, she began looking for volunteer opportunities. An ad in the Glebe Report for the Friends’ garden teams “sounded like a nice activity and I have always enjoyed gardening,” Karen explains. She joined the Macoun team in 2015 and also helps in the flower garden at her church. “My own yard is mostly shade plants so it is very exciting to work in gardens where there is colour.”
Karen is also one of the busy servers at the Friends’ Victorian tea, volunteers with the Kiwanis Music Festival, and belongs to a group sponsoring refugees. “We already have three families with two more on the way. I am the ‘lead’ on settling them in – taking care of all the paper work, answering their SOS calls – so it’s a very busy time.” Working in the Macoun garden may well be the perfect antidote to Karen’s busy life. “I love going out in the early morning. It’s so beautiful in the garden. The group I work with are wonderful and a joy to be around.”
Mary Ann Smythe, August 2017. Photo by Polly McColl.