Windy Hill Organic Farm
Windy Hill Organic Farm writes regarding the guiding principles for organic certification. I believe in sustainable food production and am certified organic mainly for marketing purposes rather than a statement of values. The rules that govern organic certification do not always meet my standards for food production, but they are a good starting point. My personal livestock will always have more space both indoors and outdoors on pasture as well as more access to the outdoors than required by organic standards. I also believe it is more sustainable to buy locally produced hay that is grown without the chemicals than to drive a three hour round-trip to pick up certified organic hay. Therefore, while the fruits and vegetables at my farm are certified organic, the goats and chickens are not at this time.
In the broader community, supporting sustainable food production means that one will buy all their imported groceries, sugar, bananas and chocolate from fair trade organic suppliers. I produce most of my own food and support other organic farmers and sustainable fishermen to supply but I don't grow myself. Community involvement is very important and I am active in networks and cooperative marketing systems with other organic producers in the area.
Marketing direct to consumers through a CSA selling at farmers markets are my preferred selling methods because I get to know my customers. The relationships that I build my customers are what I enjoy most about farming.
Sustainability means closing the loop in food production as much as possible. Nothing is wasted on the farm is animal manure feeds the soil that supports vegetables and fruit production. Livestock grazing rotations also help nourish the soil and unsold vegetables supplement the diets of goats and chickens. I collect some of my own vegetable seed and grow herbs for treating parasites in goats, plant flowers help to attract beneficial insects and maintain uncultivated spaces on the farm for wildlife and birds.
I maintain a small farm operation instead of planning to grow large, I prefer to help train others who want to farm so they can supply the growing demand for sustainable grown food.
It is important to educate as candidates farm population is rapidly aging and it is very important to support anyone interested in farming to learn the skills to grow crops, raise livestock and run a business. In the past I've worked with apprentices to teach farming and farm management skills through ACORNS Grow Farmer program at www.growafarmer.ca and the federal Step Up program. I've also had the pleasure of mentoring new farmers who are starting out on their own properties, offering advice on growing and marketing as needed. New farmers who are ready to purchase their own land have also found a place to practice their skills growing and marketing vegetables at Windy Hill Farm and I encourage you to check out sweetsoilorganics, the website of Sarah Smith who after three years here, now has her very own farm.