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Farm Glance: Bantry Bay Farm

July 25, 2010

Bantry Bay Farm came to be when a group of friends in their early twenties seized a farming opportunity: when a family property became available, Mike Hadfield, Luke McLean and Katherine McCord dove in. Having no farming experience whatsoever, they raided the local library (they all lived in British Columbia at the time), picked up Eliot Coleman’s ”The New Organic Grower” and made the big and gutsy move to New Brunswick shortly after. Read more…

Farm Glance: Highland Farm

July 20, 2010

Alex DeNicola from Highland Farm has been providing the Halifax Farmer’s Market with organically grown veggies since 1992. In recent years, Alex has also become an avid permaculturist. Although he describes his permaculture vision for Highland Farm as a young project, there is already lots going on,  including: the remodelling of his gardens, digging ponds, keeping livestock, constructing a cob oven, and the conversion of an old hog barn into a community living space.

Much of the infrastructure on the farm is made from reclaimed material. Alex has mastered the art of giving a second life to discarded materials of all sort, thereby keeping his operating and project development costs very low.

A few of his permaculture inspired techniques are documented below.

This ''before and after''picture shows the drastic improvements that have taken place on Highland Farm in the last few years.

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Farm Glance: David Bunnett Family Farm

July 13, 2010

After a three days of riding and a day off in Fredericton, NB, we pressed on through the St. John River Valley towards Havelock, NB arriving at the David Bunnett Family Farm, home of Green Meadows Organic Beef. Operating on 400-acres (150-acres of which they own), the Bunnetts raise 120 head of cattle, 70 turkeys, and four batches of 250 meat birds each year. What stood out to us at this particular livestock farm was the size of the operation, which seems to be really manageable for a family to operate, as well as the way they sell their beef, namely fresh at the Dieppe Farmers’ Market.

The Bunnett Family

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Farm Glance: Speerville Farm

July 3, 2010

Walk into any health food store in New Brunswick, and you’re likely to find  this logo dominating the shelves of the baking section:

Speerville Flour Mill had humble beginnings way back in 1982, but has grown into a thriving producer of whole grain flours and cereals for Atlantic Canada.  We recently pointed our bikes towards Speerville not to see the mill, but the thriving family farm that one of the mill’s co-founders established right beside it.  Stu Fleishaker got the farm going shortly after he helped the mill get started, and with his wife Nancy has built a farm whose reputation for producing good food, at least among the farmer n’ foodie crowd, rivals that of the mill.

The four heroes of Speerville Farm: Stu, Nancy, Layla, and Maryn

The four heroes of Speerville Farm: Stu, Nancy, Layla, and Maryn

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Farm Glance: Hope Seeds

July 3, 2010

In order to accurately and efficiently measure seed quantities, Andrea uses a selection of custon made measuring spoons that are fashioned out of varying length and diameter pieces of pipe with end caps attached to handles.

Most gardeners we know tend to be seedaholics: when that seed shopping time of the year rolls around, I too have to restrict myself from buying the entire content of (numerous) catalogs. Yet upon starting this trip we knew very little about commercial small scale seed production.

Hope Seeds was the second farm we visited that focuses on seed production: growing, drying, selecting, sourcing, packaging, marketing, and much more- Hope Seeds does it all with much enthusiasm and dedication to the highest quality. Business owners and growers Andrea and Ernst are located in Knowlesville, N.B., on a 200  acre property that includes a greenhouse, several fields, an impressive drying loft, and all the tools necessary to handling seeds-from sowing to mailing. Andrea is dedicated to promoting seed saving as a viable and essential element of food security. She has also been active in organizing the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network, which ”fosters a community of seed growers and seed sellers who can protect and enhance an economically viable and ecologically sustainable organic seed supply for Eastern Canada”. They ”strive to do this through education, shared resources, research and a united political voice.”

To mark her beds Andrea uses a solidly pounded wooden stake to which is tied a piece of surveyor tape marked with the date and variety. Its solid, hard to miss, won't blow away in the wind and doesn't cost much!

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Growing Opportunities: Artful Acres Community Land Trust

June 28, 2010

Artful Acres: self-sufficient energy and potato production.

Riding south-east in New Brunswick, from Grand Falls towards Wooodstock, we stopped in the rural town of Knowlsville, where we stayed with Tegan and Leland of Artful AcresLocated right next door to The Falls Brook Centre, a sustainable community demonstration and training centre, Artful Acres is an inspiring homestead with a bold vision.

In the last few years Tegan and Leland have built a three-story load bearing timberframe-strawbale house powered with renewable energy, have started an educational Nature Centre, are raising three kids, operate a store for local goods, and as if that wasnt enough, are working towards creating a community land trust.
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Farm Glance: Circle ‘S’ Farms

June 25, 2010

This is the story of a pirate farmer named Wayne Sabine and his partner in crime, Dilys, the artist.

Dilys Sabine and their lovely wwoofer, Julianne. Unfortunately, we missed Wayne for the photo shoot, as he was off playing music with his newly formed band.

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On Céline, poutine, and cyclisme in Québec

June 24, 2010

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Trip Journal: St-Vallier à/to St-Blandine

June 20, 2010

St-Vallier à/to Sainte Blandine: 10/05/27-10/05/09

Vélo et tracteurs droit devant!/Bikes and tractors ahead!

Nous avons pédalé plus de 1000 kms depuis Gatineau et visité trois sites depuis St-Vallier, soit  La Société des Plantes, Sage-Terre et Le Biscornu. Notre odorat nous fournit la preuve que nous nous dirigeons nord-est depuis maintenant près d’un mois: en plus de l’air salin et du vent de face qui surgit ici et là, les lilas n’en finissent plus de fleurir. Après avoir longé le fleuve jusqu’à Sainte-Blandine (Rimouski), nous bifurquons vers le sud-ouest et nous escaladons (littéralement) les Appalaches afin d’atteindre le Nouveau-Brunswick. Voici quelques photos qui relatent notre route.

Three other site visits laterLa Société des Plantes, Sage-Terre and Le Biscornu-we have now pedalled over 1000kms since leaving Gatineau, all the while our noses confirming that we were heading north east along the St-Lawrence: as the first ripples of the maritime (salty air, head wind, etc) reached us, the lilacs bloomed …and kept blooming. We then headed south west towards New Brunswick , literally climbing our way over a section of the Appalachian. Our photo journal illustrates some of the highlights of this section. Read more…

Farm Glance: Le Biscornu

June 19, 2010

Rimouski represented the northernmost point of the Quebec portion of our route, and 20 km outside that city lay our last Quebec farm.  We arrived to Le Biscornu under rainy skies, which seemed fitting as we beheld Justin Audet and Natalie Chartier’s flock of Icelandic sheep grazing high up above the hilly farm in the uppermost pasture.  By the way, ‘Biscornu’ was chosen for its double meaning–in french it can be read as ‘two horns,’ but it also refers to something strange; which is fitting for these two young farmers raised in the city, with their weird ideas about grass and grazing.

The flock grazes, farmhouse and barn in the distance. There we are, way down there by the house, beholding it.

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