One of the many problems we face today is a lack of stewardship and personal respect for our earth. For many years I have been a shepherd to my heard of cows. Taking my time every year to save as many seeds as I can, to grow and share with others the next season. Foremost. I’m a soil builder (the foundation of farm stewardship). Many hurdles have been met and overcome here at Earth Haven Farm over the many years that we have operated. We are looking to build a better infrastructure here so more people can use and benefit from the abundance that comes from our operation. This farm has been built from the earth up. Kathryn (my mom) and Emily (friend and neighbor) and myself have been depending on the success of our garden and farm operation to keep our lives as normal as one can expect. It is very important to me on a personal level to get back to my roots as an indigenous person after learning the colonial way of life from birth. Through my struggle, I now have the foundation and dedication to bring what I have to whomever wants to learn. My life practice is a guarantee that your donations will bear fruit for future generations.
Our goal with your donations will go to building a greenhouse to aid in the propagation of food, seedlings and plants, getting them to people and communities in the spring and throughout the growing season. As we save and make our own potting soil our import costs are relatively low. The workers are basically myself and Emily getting things ready for customers. The greenhouse would help get more plants and food to people. Indigenous food sovereignty is vital to rebuilding community. I am proud to continue this journey over the years. We can do this together by taking part in seed saving networks.
With the construction of this building, we hope to be able to afford to hire a full time worker and to pay the existing dedicated volunteers a livable stipend. With what this greenhouse will allow us to do by extending our growing season and allowing for more seedlings and seed savings will enhance, improve upon what we will be able to contribute as a farm and to our community.
Aric Aguonie - Farmer & General Manager
Project Funding Proposal
Brief description of Earth Haven Farm.
Earth Haven Farm is a small scale market garden farm in eastern Ontario (established in 2006). Our goals are to steward the farms we manage, provide guidance and education on sustainable farm practices, save native/ heritage seeds, and build soil with materials from the land. We raise a small herd of Scottish Highland Cattle which primarily supply us with manure for nutrients that we add to our soil. Through the markets, stores, and CSA Program, and through our farm internships, we have been inspiring and mentoring others to get into sustainable conscious living. While in the meantime, we supply many people with veggies, plants, beef, handmade crafts, and soap.
We offer a CSA box program to local customers from mid-May to mid-October. Our goal from conception has been to operate our farm as naturally and organically as possible, to live sustainably, inspire and mentor others through internships and volunteer work, while supplying our local community with healthy, nutritious food. Culturally we are helping to support indigenous food sovereignty.
Where are we located?
Earth Haven Farm is located in eastern Ontario, north of Belleville, and south of Tweed. It is located half way between Toronto and Ottawa north of Hwy 401 and Hwy 7, in the Hamlet of Thomasburg.
How many years have we been in operation?
Earth Haven Farm has been in operation since 2006, obtaining organic certification through Demeter Canada in 2008. Demeter is the certification body for biodynamic farms using methods and practices according to Demeter and biodynamic standards.
In 2016, Earth Haven Farm brought VanderWey Flying Dutchman Acres, owned by Sue and Emily Vander Wey into our certification with Demeter. This allows all hay and vegetables grown on both farms to fall under organic certification, ensuring our customers quality and integrally grown products.
A description of our growing methods.
As a certified Demeter Farm (one of 34 in all of Canada), we adhere to the guidelines and practices of biodynamic farming. We plant using the recommendations of the planting calendar as to when to plant and harvest certain vegetables. We utilize all of the biodynamic preparations as well as herbal teas such as mint, stinging nettle, and yarrow to help control molds, fungal growth and pests.
We do not use any chemicals whatsoever in our farming practices. We do use natural occurring mineral supplements which are sourced integrally.
Earth Haven Farm utilizes practices, recommendations and guidelines from numerous teachings and mentorships which include biodiversity, organic, permaculture, biodynamic, holistic and restorative leading us to sustainable farming.
Earth Haven Farm maintains a small herd of grass fed Scottish Highland Cattle which is extremely important within biodynamic practices and provides us with a wealth of healthy and vital manure to all aspects of our farm and gardens. Meat is not a primary income as our herd is small and we butcher only once or twice a year. Customers for our meat are extremely loyal and the meat is readily sold. Cattle are fed on pastures year round with hay cut from Earth Haven Farm and Flying Dutchman Acres, and are provided mineral supplements procured from Bio-Ag of Wellesley, Ontario.
Our small flock of free range chickens help eat bugs, slugs and other pests in the garden as well as providing their own destruction to plants, which we tolerate and compensate for. Free range chickens provide our family with incredibly nutritious eggs and meat for our own consumption. Chickens are provided grains procured from Bio-Ag out of Wellesley, Ontario.
Sue and Emily Vander Wey of Flying Dutchman Acres work hand in hand with Earth Haven Farm. Emily has worked as an intern with us for many years, learning and growing, and has risen to be a key participant, decision maker and teacher/mentor to farm volunteers. Emily is extremely reliable and dedicated to the success of Earth Haven Farm and the working relationship with her own farm, Flying Dutchman Acres.
Earth Haven Farm relies heavily on the contribution of volunteer workers. We are always looking to our local community for volunteer support. Most of our season workers come through programs such as WWOOF and Work-A-Way.
Where do we sell your products?
In 2008, Earth Haven Farm joined the Quinte Organic Co-op which was a group of 10-12 farms that grew products and sold our products at a number of farmers markets in Toronto. Each farm taking turns to coordinate the pick-up of produce and drive to Toronto and sell at a given market.
In 2014, the Quinte Organic Co-op folded and Earth Haven Farm took over attendance at two of the key farmers markets in Toronto, those being Evergreen Brickworks and The Village Market.
In 2017, with the help and management skills of Emily Vander Wey, who has been our intern for a number of years, we took on a 20 member CSA program. This program is offered to our local community extending from Tweed, to Belleville and Frankford. This program has proven very successful and the monies generated are put towards the purchase of seed and other supplies to get us started growing each year.
Early in 2020, the Covid virus shut down these two farmers markets in Toronto. With the loss of these markets for income, Earth Haven Farm had to find other means of providing farm income.
We increased our CSA program from 20 to 30 members.
We planted as many seedlings as we could in our greenhouse, and offered a month long seedling sale, which proved to be incredibly successful.
Along with our seedling sale we set up an outdoor table and sold many of our food preserves and hand-crafted items, which also proved successful in sales.
We have one retail customer, Easy Health Food Store, in Toronto that is buying from us on a weekly and/or bi-weekly basis. The owners of this store have been loyal customers of ours over the years at Evergreen Brickworks and believe strongly in how we farm and the products that we produce. We have been sending a good number of our Toronto customers to this store and it has proven to be a great working relationship. Easy Health Food Store has become our primary source of income for 2020. They sell all of our products from meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, preserves as well as some of our handmade items.
What are the details of this project?
Earth Haven Farm is proposing to construct a 30’ x 200’ additional greenhouse space in 2021. The proposed greenhouse will be of a Hoop House design with roll up sides for ventilation and clear plastic cover for light and heat transmission. The height of the greenhouse will be sufficient to allow a tractor and equipment to be driven through. This will enable us to add manure and remove debris with less manpower requirements. The end walls will be of solid construction to create sufficient stability for a building of this size to withstand high winds and varied weather conditions. Both end walls will allow for tractor and equipment to pass through as well as a small man door.
Earth Haven Farm will be able to increase our seedling sale and offering of a much wider variety of plants and quantities of plants, including tree seedlings to our local community building upon the success of our spring 2020 seedling sale.
This additional greenhouse will allow for the growing of more vegetables and types of vegetables that can be offered to our local CSA box program and local customer base.
With the ability to extend our growing season and grow more variety and quantity, it may open the doors for more local retail customers, restaurants, etc. to buy from us.
Earth Haven Farm has an opportunity to grow a very special vegetable called Light Yam or Light Root (Dioscorea batatas) which is primarily grown as a health food supplement. We have been offered a contract to grow this by a company in the United States, provided we can grow a sufficient quality and quantity to meet their needs. Light Root needs to be grown in very specific growing conditions which this greenhouse size and design will allow us to meet. Should this company wish to proceed with us as a grower, we would set aside a portion of this greenhouse for this product. For more information on this plant and how it is grown, check out this farm in Germany (Andreashof Farm), where it is grown in numerous greenhouses which supply the European market. www.lichtyam.de