MNLA November 22, 23 and 24th, 2019
The Lebret Farm was originally operated by the Oblate Fathers in conjunction with their Lebret Mission. The farm was used to provide food and employment for Indigenous people in the Lebret area.
Between the 1930s and 1950s government sought to rehabilitate the area's Metis population through training and employment with hopes to eradicate the increasing poverty rates.
In 1945 the farm was purchased from the Oblate Fathers by the government. The tensions grew between the church and the government.
In 1953 Father Blanchard organized a cooperative movement where both church and government had a role in the production of the farm. In it's prime, the farm comprised 3,520 acres of land. At it's prime 1,950 acres were under annual cultivation and 1,000 acres were seeded to perennial forage. All the land was used to provide feed for livestock operations consisting of a 200 sow farrow to finish hog operation and a 200 cow beef operation. There were several households on the farm, from the original 8 homes built to new construction homes. The farm was operated by Metis families who lived on the farm and managed the cooperative.
The tension between church and state did not resolve over control of the farm and this had repercussions to the operations of the farm and it could not recover to it's previous success. The farm officially closed it's production in the late seventies.
In 1987, the Metis Farm was turned over to the newly formed Lebret Farmland Foundation Inc. The Provincial Lands Act permitted the sale of the farm for $1. Lebret Farmland Foundation currently oversees the farm activity and is an extension of the economic development arm of Eastern Region III.
Today the land is leased for pasture land and the community hall is rented out for events.
There are plans to restore the farm to an operation that will be sustainable for years to come with the renewed vision of the Board of Directors, community stakeholders and Metis citizens.