Rich soil is a gift...
It is more than a place for plants to root, it is a living super organism teeming with fungus, bacteria, worms, insects and much more. The building blocks of soil are minerals and broken down organisms. This black, brown, or grey layer is what we connect with when we eat food. It is our mission to maintain this food connection with very healthy soil.
Our farming practices begin with respect for the soil. Soil covers only a small part of the earth, and what we have has been built up over millennia to become the life-supporting substrate that we can grow food in. It is teeming with organisms, all of which work together to become a nutrient-dense matter that supports plant life (along with sun and water). We work together with these elements to grow vital foods for you.We seek to farm with a balance of efficiency and sustainability. We farm on a small scale; this leads to less reliance on large-scale equipment as well as increased human interaction with soil and plants.
In nature soils build over millennia by cycling nutrients. (Plants build tissue by taking up nutrients from below through roots and symbiosis and from above through photosynthesis. When plants die or are consumed they return to the earth.)
We work hard to make sure that more nutrients are going into the soil than out. We have done this by: 1) growing clover and other crops and incorporating them into the soil, 2) the age old practice of applying on farm compost and manure from neighbouring farms, and 3) applying approved granular fertilizer (made from animal products and minerals).
We are Organic. This means any substance that we incorporate into our practices needs to meet the standard (see: CAN/CGSB-32.311-2015) set by government and non-government organizations – a group of people wanting to make food and food production strong and healthy. Within this standard, there are a number of fertilizer and pesticide options. For example, we have used pesticides that are biological organisms to discourage Colorado potato beetle and cabbage moth (caterpillars in cabbage, broccoli etc.)
Crop rotation and soil fertility management affect how food plants compete with weed plants. We also use hand hoes, long and short, skinny and wide hoes, and some with wheels. These are small-farm tools. One advantage of using these tools is that we can maintain awareness of what is going on with the plants as they grow.
We use clippers, knives, buckets, wheelbarrows and fingers. A small farm requires only simple tools for harvesting. Among other things, this makes it easier to see and care for what we are bringing to market. We also cool our products in water and wash them.
We have been selling through The Organic Box and at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers market for over nine years. This ‘direct marketing’ (and near-direct marketing for the Organic Box) is a way that small farms can earn a living even though they can’t take advantage of large scale mechanization, cheap labour, lax environmental regulations, cheap fuel and other subsidies applied to industrial farms. It also means that we get to meet you – the people who bring our work to fruition. Bon Appetite!