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A Dairy Management workshop has been quickly organized for Eastern Ontario. This will run from 10:00 A.M.to 3:00 P.M. Cost is $20.00 per person, or $30.00 per farm couple. Contact Hubert Earl for more information.
** N.B. These tours have switched slots, so the Arboretum Tour now starts the day. The time has also been changed to 9:00 A.M. The change was made so that Henry Kock could be present at the Arboretum's Plant Sale which starts at 1:00 P.M. (Only "Friends of the Arboretum" are allowed to purchase plants at this sale. If you're interested in becoming a Friend, phone (519) 824-4120 ext. 2113, or FAX (519) 763-9598.)
Our tour of the Arboretum will begin with a one k walk during which useful concepts and practical actions to protect land with natural systems will be viewed and explained. This tour will highlight the functional characteristics of forest edge, hedge row and meadow. Members will then visit the nursery where practical applications for growing and planting trees will be covered. A discussion will wrap things up before lunch.
Please meet at the Arboretum Centre at 1:00 P.M. for the Agroforestry tour when we'll view their efforts to combine agriculture and forestry, in such a way that the trees are an integral component of the farming system. The intercropping trials we'll see include various tree species (spruce, silver and red maple, poplar; and nut species including heartnut, Carpathian walnut, hazelnut, pecan) in combination with three different crops (corn, soybeans, and barley or winter wheat). Another study explores the effect tree crops have on the microclimate of the field crop.
The Duncans have a free stall dairy operation and milk around 50 cows. They own 250 acres and rent another 300. Crops include oats, barley, and hay. For the last two years, most herd health problems have been addressed by means of homeopathic solutions. Bruce and Janet will embark on a controlled rotational grazing program this year for the milking herd and replacement heifers.
The Budds grow a wide range of vegetables, herbs and some fruit for local CSA member families and restaurants. Other highlights will include pastured poultry in moveable pens, a considerable amount of tree planting, and owner built home with solar electricity and water heating.
The Heinzles are probably the first members of the EFAO to have granted a license to process milk from their own herd into organic yogurt and kefir. Josef and his father grow most of their own feedstuffs in an interesting crop rotation program involving hay, small grains and pasture.
This tour/workshop, jointly sponsored by the EFAO and MCVA, will provide an excellent example of how farmers can integrate natural areas on the farm. The Pronks operate a dairy farm, which has been organically run for approx. ten years. There is a wide variety of natural areas on the farm, and a tributary of the Maitland River flows through it.
Jane Bowles, a Plant Ecologist, will take us on a tour of the Pronk Farm explaining how you can determine if you have a "healthy" forest. Chris Hart,landscape ecologist and aquatic biologist; and John Fitzgibbons, Prof. from the Univ. of Guelph, will also be on hand to show you how to assess the condition of water resources. All three will also outline what you can do to improve the health of these natural areas.
The tour begins at 10:30 A.M. and runs till 3:30 P.M. Please bring your lunch. The cost is $5.00/person or $10.00/family. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. For more information, contact Phil Beard at 335-3557, or 357-1255.
Directions: The Pronk farm is on Con. C, Lot 98 of Minto Twp., or 2 miles southeast of Harriston on Hwy. #9 towards Teviotdale. It is located on the east side of the road.
Tom, Mary Anne, and children (Peter, Conrad and Brigitte) are Mennonites farming in the Niagara Peninsula near Tintern. They have a mixed farm of 63 certified acres. They grow small grains and hay, and raise pigs and chickens. Market garden crops of potatoes, raspberries, strawberries, squash, watermelons, pumpkins and gourds are sold at a fresh market stand in St. Catharines. (The Neufeld family has operated this stand since 1932.) The Neufelds also operate a stone milling operation that grinds flour for sale. A small sausage business is another aspect of their market endeavour.
The tour of their fields plus a milling demonstration is scheduled for Sunday, July 10. It will begin at 1:00 P.M. Hope to see you there!
When: now April 8
Where: York University
For more information phone Mora Campbell, Leesa Fawcett or Summer Fike at York Univ. (416) 736-5252.
When: May 7 - 21
Where: Ecology Retreat Centre, Hockley Valley
This intensive course will cover all the basics of permaculture, from its philosophy to the nuts and bolts of design method and principles. Peter Bane and Chuck Marsh are the instructors. The cost is $900.00. For more information contact Richard Griffith at (416) 497-5746.
By Gerry Poechman
Once again Eastern Ontario leads the way to more profitable farming. A handful of us `westerns' traveled to Kemptville to graze some ideas from an Intensive Pasture Management Day. We left home with high expectations and were not disappointed.
Our own Hubert Earl started the day with his own experience as a newly transformed grazier. He then introduced Alan Henning, a very experienced grazing specialist from Wisconsin. Al shared his grass knowledge gained from low-cost agriculture in New Zealand. Alan's theme was based on the quote,"When you eliminate a cost, it will never again increase!" Pasture on organic farms fits this goal perfectly.
Joel Salatin gave a stimulating presentation featuring his experiences of pasturing livestock including chickens (for roasting) and rabbits. Joel's family has been successful in fully integrating bio-diversity into the farm bank account. People come as far as 100 miles to buy pasture-fed chicken, eggs, beef and pork.
Joel's well managed operation includes forest planting and management for fuel and a carbon source for compost, as well as wildlife habitat. He has re-established several small ponds on the farm for aquaculture. Solar pumps provide water to each pasture paddock as needed.
A key to composting on Joel's Virginian farm includes pigs to naturally turn and aerate the winter's manure pack. By mid-summer he has market-ready pigs and mature compost.
The roasting chickens are the financial highlight of the farm, earning a net $25,00. U.S. in just six month. The family's young children do most of the flock tending as well as collecting eggs from the 200 lagers in the egg-mobile. The mobile henhouse follows the cattle through the rotational grazing sequence, spreading the cow paddies and eating the insects and parasites common to cattle herds.
As you may have gathered, this is just a brief introduction to some of the speakers' ideas. The January 26 issue of Ontario Farmer had at least four excellent articles about this day. Joel Salatin has written a book and produced a video explaining the details of his fully ecological system of agriculture. Both of these, as well as other articles, are available at the EFAO's library at the MVCA.
R.R. # 2, Harriston, N0G 1Z0. (519) 338-2356
On February 24, a group of interested dairy farmers gathered at the MVCA in Wroxeter to attend the EFAO's Dairy Management Workshop. The day-long event was very informative.
The morning session began with Lawrence Andres, an organic dairy farmer, discussing animal health and prevention. Lawrence gave an excellent presentation that highlighted the needs of health, productive dairy cows. He urged us to become more aware of our cows' comfort and to consider their natural and social behaviour. We also discussed care, feeding and husbandry of livestock. Lawrence emphasized that a productive dairy cow is a healthy cow and good herd health begins with good soil health. We broke into small groups to discuss problems on our own farms and everyone seemed highly motivated to improve their cows' comfort level.
Ted Glauser spoke on Alternative Health Products next. He also stressed that prevention is foremost in disease control but, if necessary, there are products available other than the over-used penicillin for treating disease. Homeopathic remedies were discussed and many participants shared their experiences with alternative treatments such as vitamin C and apple cider vinegar.
After lunch, Ted Zettel spoke about manure management. We all agreed that this valuable resource was not getting the attention from farmers that it deserves. We had a good discussion about the evolution of composting and many participants shared their problems and successes with the process.
Ted and Martin de Groot then spoke to us regarding Organic Certification. Ted took us through the certification process and then Martin gave a very informative talk about the `rules' of organic farming specific to the dairy industry.
The workshop closed with an update on the struggle to market organic milk. Although nothing is yet written in stone, it seems that we are getting close to securing a processor and that someday soon we may see organic milk products at the grocery store.
The day was very informative and inspiring, and, as a dairy farmer interested in "going organic", I left feeling enthusiastic and optimistic about Organic Dairying's future.
By Shelly Paulocik
Despite poor weather, and difficult travelling conditions, the turnout at the Annual Conference seemed as high as usual. Joe Smillie was the keynote speaker for the morning. In his enthusing talk, Joe emphasized that organic producers are selling a system of production, not just a product. Those who took his workshop later in the day commented favourably on how he carried on with his message.
In terms of sheer numbers alone, many of the workshops were extremely successful. Some held on fruit production, vegetable production, and ecological farm planning virtually overflowed into the hall with keen would-be participants. (Perhaps some of these topics need two time slots.) Ken McMullen's workshop on CSA's, provided a wealth of ideas, not just on how to run them, but also on recognizing problems before they become serious, and how to turn disasters into unexpected opportunities.
As always, the conference was an excellent opportunity for like-minded people to gather, exchange ideas, and enjoy each others' company. Traffic through the trade show was heavy, but some participants regretted they couldn't buy books or other products while they were there.
by Rita Stoller
In early February the Eastern LON met at Haedae Farm to learn more about marketing opportunities for their products. The variety of opportunities awaiting them were surprising.
Two representatives from Agricultural Marketing for Eastern Ontario (AMEO), Doug Avery and Joe Lor were our speakers. Their survey covered over 130 businesses in city centres in eastern Ontario and New York State. Some of its finding were very interesting to our group.
There were 75 different product needs that local farmers could fill. These included dried plants, decorative garden items, chinese vegetables and wood shavings. Other product needs identified included honey, maple syrup, asparagus, rabbits, strawberries, straw bales, broccoli, horse radish, garlic, goat milk and cheese, sweet corn, and pre-cut carrots.
About 50% of stores interviewed said they had never been solicited by farmers to buy produce. This fact directed our attention to one of the fundamental concept of marketing - find out what consumer wants first, before you produce!
The 450 page survey (with contact names and needs of each store) is available to members for $50.00. Those members with a computer and modem can also get information through AMEO's `round the clock' computer bulletin board. AMEO is expecting a grant of $30,000 to complete a survey of potential direct sales to businesses in communities with 5,000 to 10,000 people.
All of us found it very interesting to hear about these untapped opportunities. The meeting also gave us greater appreciation for Eastern Ontario's geographic advantage for future marketing, especially with huge markets like New York City.
By Ruth Einarson, (519) 986-4483
Twenty two people gathered on March 2, in the Markdale OMAF boardroom, for the first meeting of the Grey County Group of the EFAO. The meeting was chaired by Ruth Knight.
Initial introductions and brief outlines of what we did, hoped to do, and what brought us to this meeting showed a interesting mix of people. Despite the great variety of interests, many were shared, as were goals. The backgrounds of participants ranged from those whose farming roots go back two or three generations, to those who are newly retired, to those new to the area and eager to learn all they can about organic growing. There was an interest in OCIA certification, any sources of written information, as well as workshops etc. This group is eager to learn!
This group will meet again on April 21 at 8:00 P.M., in the same spot. We'll be viewing and discussing one member's copy of the video "Fields of Green". Everyone was asked to bring any printed resource material they have, so the others can look it over. Each person was also asked to provide a brief written description of their farm and future plans to attach to the membership list. Feel free to come, everyone is welcome to attend. For more information call Ruth at (519) 986-4483.
On Feb. 14 1994, OCIA (Ontario) held its annual meeting at the University of Guelph. The new executive is as follows: Past President - Phil Mathewson, President - David Walton, Vice President - Ted Thorpe, Secretary-Treasurer - Jim Naish, and Director or Certification - Christine Zettel.
Paul Lycett has sent out the applications for 1994. If anyone still needs an application, please call Paul at (613) 923-5384. Please return them to Christine Zettel, R.R. #1, Chepstow, Ont. N0G 1K0. A new phone and fax line is being installed at her home, and it should be operating by March 4. The number for both is (519) 366-2613.
We are making a strong attempt to improve member service this year. To this end we will be strictly enforcing cut-off deadlines for applications. All renewals should in by March 31st, and all new applications should be in by May 31st.
At this time we are planning to print four newsletters this year to keep you informed. I must stress that communication is a two way thing and you must also do your part. Don't just sit back and complain, come and offer to help because this is your organization!
Hoping for good crops for all in 1994,
By Gerry Poechman
Greeting from all the members of the OntarBio Co-op! This past year has been a very exciting and rewarding one, and our members would like to share some of their enthusiasm with you. Our crops were already sold out early in 1994. Daring to remain hopeful, our anticipation of a better year yet to come increases each week. If our annual banquet is any indication - 150 guest present - there is tremendous community support for farmers collectively receiving a FAIR price for a healthy, environmentally-superior crop production system. OntarBio is strategically poised to capitalize on this holistic sentiment.
The past year kindly allowed us to enter a joint venture in oat processing. We now have a `superior to steamed' toasted oat flakes. Much in demand, these are enjoying accelerating sales. As an added plus, our members receive a larger share of the consumer's prudently-spent dollar.
OntarBio is now recognized internationally as a source for top quality spelt and soybeans. We have a strong demand for certified and transitional crops for both food and feed markets. Prices are at an all-time high for many crops.
OntarBio members are presently exploring opportunities in consumer packaging for our toasted oats, meat marketing, local larger-scale flour milling for the fresh, whole-grain market and in diversifying into several specialty crops from kamut to medicinal herbs.
If you are a grower, or an `eater', you have a vested interest in the development of a co-operative like OntarBio. If collective empowerment is your style of community betterment, especially in organic agriculture, give OntarBio a call (519) 369-5316. We are happy to answer your questions. We would like YOU to be a member too!
1. Every member has a vote and equal say in, and responsibility for, all decisions - now that's real democracy.
2. Pooled resources for cleaning, handling, and storing, plus professional marketing experience.
3. Shared risk for uncollectible debts.
4. Pooled crops for more consistent quality.
5. Supply of seed high in quality, yet reduced in cost.
6. Investment in the future of organic farming at more than 7% interest rates.
7. Collective synergy to develop new products, enter joint ventures and add value to organic products.
8. Professional advice available for all aspects of growing and marketing many crops under many specific cropping practices.
9. Flexibility in storage, processing and shipping to meet the needs of both small and large customers.
10. Market for organic and transitional crops.
11. Bonus: an atmosphere of enthusiasm and co-operation in building a better future for everyone.
Copyright © 1994 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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