Annie Zaluski (nee Steel) was born in 1929 on the family farm in Glasgow, Scotland. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1930, establishing a dairy, chicken and hog farm in Townsend Township. After graduating high school, Annie joined the Ontario Farm Service Force as part of the nation’s post-war Land Army. Following this service, she continued her studies at the University of Toronto and spent six years with Agriculture Canada as a seed analyst.
Annie married Paul Zaluski in 1956, returning to Norfolk County and life on a farm. Not wanting to be relegated to what was then-typical female roles like bookkeeping, Annie integrated herself into every aspect of the farms operations. Considerable hard work and research went into the Zaluskis’ 64 acres. They needed to try a number of crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries, as well as a dairy herd to see what would be most viable.
The Zaluskis’ success prompted local farmers to seek their advice in both farm management and business practices. Annie took on leadership initiatives to champion small farm operations within Norfolk County and beyond. Her drive for success and empowerment of farmers drew the attention of the provincial and federal agricultural ministries and she was asked to help formulate policies and best practices.
Annie’s devotion to both her growing family and the farm meant she became extremely involved within her community and farm organizations. She joined District 4 Ontario Vegetable Growers Association as a committee member, was a founder and long-serving secretary of the Norfolk Farm Safety Association, secretary of the Agricultural Employment Services Board, and a Director of the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture for over 60 years.
Annie is credited with looking at the big picture of small acreage farms. She foresaw the decline of tobacco and the rise of horticultural crops and the importance of agritourism in Norfolk County. She was one of the first to see the necessity and value of off-shore workers. Environmentally, Annie promoted the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices through her involvement with the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) in Norfolk and Ontario.
Through her education, hands-on approach, and decades of dedication to local and provincial agricultural organizations, Annie became an inspiration and champion of the rural Ontario farmer.
* Member of the Norfolk County Agricultural Advisory Board
* Director of the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture
* Founding organizer and secretary of the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture’s Farm Safety Program
* Advisor with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and member of the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Norfolk and Ontario branches
* Past President and Life Member of the Waterford & Townsend Historical Society
* Past member of the Waterford Heritage & Agricultural Museum’s Board and Advisory Committee
* Member of the Bealton Women’s Institute and Waterford Legion Ladies Auxiliary
Annie is featured in our Virtual Agricultural Hall of Fame Video, showcasing 2020’s recipients and loved ones receiving their awards.