News/Events - January 2013

Informative Tour at Crosswind Farm

Goat

On Thursday January 24, 2013, Farms at Work hosted its second in a series of farm business management tours at Crosswind Farm, an award-winning goat dairy in Keene, ON. Despite the frigid temperatures and biting winds (the group learned firsthand where the name Crosswind comes from), the twenty participants enjoyed an extended opportunity to tour the farm and hear directly from owner and operator, Cindy Hope.

Crosswind’s brand new production facility

Starting off in Crosswind’s brand new production facility, the group got a chance to view the farm’s setup for pasteurization, as well as the “hooping” of goat feta cheese. Cindy took the opportunity of shelter from the cold to explain the history of Crosswind Farm. She spoke about the philosophy behind her production and marketing techniques, and was very candid in talking about some of her mistakes along the way. If there had been any doubt at the outset, Cindy made sure the group understood that Crosswind Farm was no overnight success story; it is a business built on years of trial and error, dedication and hard work.

some of the farm’s newest kids

After giving us an opportunity to swoon over some of the farm’s newest kids, Cindy brought the group back down to Crosswind’s new farm store for a chance to continue her discussion on marketing and value-added production methods. Cindy explained that the farm store was added to the business to help further develop her personal connection with her customers. She said that she had always wanted a welcoming place on the farm for people to visit, sample some of the varied product line, and get to know the people behind the scenes. It certainly was a welcoming place last Thursday afternoon, Cindy having provided trays of samples and several carafes of hot cocoa made with fresh goat milk. And, completely unexpectedly, Cindy was generous enough to put together a lovely gift basket of Crosswind products as a door prize for one lucky winner.

all the participants

Farms at Work would like to thank Cindy and Kevin for generously offering their time and expertise in hosting this farm tour. And of course, a big thank you to all the participants who braved perhaps the coldest day this year to join us in learning about this successful goat dairy and meat operation. Stay tuned for updates on future farm tours in the region!

Capacity Crowd Gathers for Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop

On Saturday January 19, 2013 over one hundred farmers and landowners from around East-Central Ontario packed into the Peterborough Naval Association’s Admiralty Hall to take part in the first ever Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop. As a partner in the Kawartha Farm Stewardship Collaborative (KFSC), Farms at Work provided administrative and technical support in coordinating the first of hopefully many future workshops on the topic of farm stewardship in the region.

The capacity crowd was treated to a morning of informative presentations on topics ranging from pollinator conservation on farmland, to the economic benefits of stewardship projects on farm businesses, as well as a discussion on cover crops and soil health. Speakers included Susan Chan and Pat Learmonth (both from Farms at Work) and Peter Doris, Environmental and Nutrient Management Specialist from OMAFRA. Also on hand was a panel of farmers who outlined to the rapt audience the various types of stewardship work they had implemented on their own farms and the benefits of that work on their businesses.

Attendees use satellite imagery to discuss possible stewardship projects with experts
Attendees use satellite imagery to discuss possible stewardship projects with experts

Along with a delicious lunch, prepared by the Naval Association, workshop participants also received aerial  maps of their properties. These maps helped them to discuss possible project opportunities with industry experts and the various partner organizations of the KFSC. On hand were representatives from Ducks Unlimited Canada; the Community Stream Steward Program; Lakeland Alliance; Trees Ontario; Farms at Work; the Invasive Species Council of Ontario; the Environmental Farm Plan; stewardship councils from the counties of Victoria, Northumberland and Peterborough; and the conservation authorities from the regions of Ganaraska, Kawartha,, Otonabee and Lower Trent. Plaunts Farm Service sponsored coffee and was a great support to farmers planning alternate watering systems.

Feedback from participants was very  positive, and many suggested topics for future farm stewardship workshops. The success of this workshop underlines that farmers are truly engaged in on-farm stewardship. Hopefully, this workshop will be the first of many!

Reduced Pricing for Innovative Beekeeping Mentorship Program

Farms at Work is pleased to be able to announce a reduced price for the 2013 program, thanks to the support of our partners.

2013 Central Ontario Beekeeping Mentorship Program
in cooperation with Central Ontario Beekeepers Association and the STEP UP Mentorship Program (www.fmc-gac.com)

Program Description:  This program consists of 5 full days of hands-on skills/knowledge development appropriate to the beekeeping season plus one market day. A maximum of 5 participants will gather each day at the apiary of the mentor to spend the day practising skills and learning new and time-honored approaches to colony management and honey/beeswax production both in the apiary and the honey house.  The mentor will guide and supervise activities personally so as to transfer skills and knowledge most personally and effectively.  Access to the mentor between formal mentoring days will be available via telephone or upon arrangement with the mentor.

Mentor: Jerry Jerrard of Kawartha Lakes Honey
Start date: Winter 2013
Location:  Bobcaygeon, City of Kawartha Lakes, see http://goo.gl/maps/VvcWQ
Cost:  $350/program year 

Note: This program may also qualify for cost share funding under the Ontario government’s Growing Your Farm Profits program

For information contact:  Susan Chan, 705-652-0059schan.farmsatwork@gmail.com

This program is supported by:  Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, Farm Management Canada, Canadian 4-H Council, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ Program, Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum, and the Government of Canada

Sucess Stories from Fleming Grads

What better way to celebrate the start of another exciting year in Fleming College’s Sustainable Agriculture program than with a couple of success stories from past students!

Tracy Sutherland and Steve Laing are graduates from the first year of Fleming’s co-op based program and now operate two successful farms in east-central Ontario. In the video below they discuss the practical applications of the course content in the creation of their own farm businesses.
http://youtu.be/doqCsy4WHlE

Farms at Work is an active supporter of the Sustainable Agriculture program, with both our Executive Director, Pat Learmonth, as well as Project Manager, Susan Chan, teaching several modules throughout the program.

If you or anyone you know are interested in learning more about Sustainable Agriculture at Fleming College, check out the website below!
http://flemingcollege.ca/programs/sustainable-agriculture