Have you always been an eco-farmer, or did you make a change?
We have been operating our farm using strict organic methods since our farm’s inception three decades ago. Building soil organic matter has been very important to us, as well as sustainably improving our woodlot for wildlife habitat and maple sugaring. With the introduction of livestock in 2010, we’ve been using management intensive grazing with our sheep to improve our pastures. The results, in terms of biodiversity of all forms of life in our pastures, are awe-inspiring.
What was the biggest hurdle you have overcome?
Adding the livestock enterprises to our farm posed immense challenges both in terms of knowledge and infrastructure. Our family had plenty of knowledge about raising beautiful eggplant in our northern climate, but very little in the way of animal husbandry skills. In the first two years, I dealt with significant predation loss of our chickens and a case of nearly deadly fly strike with a lamb. We also had no fencing on the farm. Today we have 5.5 acres of pasture, fenced in half-acre to 1-acre paddocks and have also dramatically reduced predation.
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