Regeneration produces good, full stop.
We are committed to living a regenerative lifestyle, one that is radical and restorative for ourselves and for others. As humans, we must be mindful of our own role in the ecosystem and strive to be a beneficial species ourselves. To this end, we offer opportunities for our community to explore the true nature of farming, to effect positive change in local food systems, to support a farm committed to mitigating climate change, and to recreate invaluable connections with others for which we all yearn.
When you become a BHF patron, you help offset climate change by supporting a farm committed to keeping carbon in the ground. Carbon sequestration is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the air and brought back down into the soil through plants. Carbon in the atmosphere contributes to a warming planet. Carbon in the ground is good for soil and feeds soil life, improving the health and quality of plants and animals. We are intensely focused on capturing carbon and keeping it in the soil where it belongs.
To renew agricultural lands, we aim to mimic the natural environment. This is done by planting our annual crops, like oats, chickpeas, quinoa and flax, together in tailored mixes that complement each plant's natural expressions. Intercropping these plant-based proteins creates symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships between species. As a result, crops remain healthy as they function to suppress weed and insects organically. After harvest of these crops, diverse plant mixes, called cover crops, grow in fields that used to lay bare between seasons. These cover crops capture large amounts of carbon, hold soil in place and protect it from water runoff and strong winds, ultimately stopping or reducing soil erosion. This ensures soil and nutrients stay on the farm and don’t end up in our rivers or lakes. We do not practice farming activities that directly contribute to soil erosion, such as tillage, in order to keep soil life intact. If left undisturbed, soil life flourishes. Microorganisms can establish networks amongst themselves that improve soil tilth and prevent soil erosion. This increases the soil’s ability to feed a wider variety of plants, promoting diversity and polyculture. Plants that did not previously grow without the extensive use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides now thrive and remain healthy and vibrant in a natural, organic environment. Perennial plants on our farm provide wildlife with food and shelter, bringing natural species back to the land. In addition, our farm has over 4,000 trees to absorb carbon and act as windbreaks helping to mitigate climate change and further reduce soil erosion.
Traditional livestock such as cattle, sheep and poultry are integrated into land management and are necessary to bring ecosystems back into balance. As diverse plant species and insects are naturally nourishing for our pastured animals, animals in turn fertilize the land promoting growth of organic matter and replenishing topsoil. We allow animals and their environment to interact as nature intended. A thriving ecosystem is a diverse ecosystem.
As the soil grows healthier, plants supported by the soil contain more minerals and nutrients. Access to more minerals and nutrients in food helps animals grow well and stay healthy. In turn, grass-fed animals provide healthier proteins for people. Studies have shown that animals who forage on grasses pass on nutritional benefits in their milk, meat and eggs. These products have higher concentrations of fatty acids like omega-3s and CLA. Such fatty acids have been linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function in children and adults, and better immune function overall. We do not use pesticide sprays where animals forage. We do not use antibiotics and antiparasitics, unless these treatments are absolutely necessary to prevent animal suffering and harm. Treated animals are not sold to our patrons. Animal welfare and producing safe, wholesome products are among our top priorities as regenerative farmers.
Bean, pea and small grain crops also contribute to biodiversity that is required of a healthy ecosystem. We choose open pollinated, non-GMO heritage varieties. These crops provide an excellent substitute for people who avoid gluten and allow those who prefer or require plant-based protein diets to fully satisfy their body’s needs. Our cattle and sheep also enjoy grazing unharvested crops, making crop experimentation viable and add to the sustainability and resiliency of the regenerative farming model.
The revitalization of food is not simply about the quality of food or the model of production. It’s also about the way in which we obtain food and whom we obtain it from. There is also a growing trend to access fresh food at farmers’ markets. Better yet, consumers are visiting their local farms and buying direct. Despite these positive changes, we know people still feel hesitant to acquire food this way. They may not have transportation, perhaps they feel local food is too expensive, maybe they lack some culinary skill. To help, we can deliver or simply have a conversation about our favourite recipes that maximize food value and minimize food waste. We price our products competitively with the local grocer and butcher. We want people to easily and affordably access food that comes from plants and animals who live as nature intended, that consume the most nutrient dense energy source, that in turn create the most nutritious food for you and our community.
As you seek out and connect to local farmers and food producers, you express rural values that were once held in high regard. Strengthening and sustaining local and rural economies depends on the willingness and motivation of community members to seek out their local producers, processors, and retailers. When you support a local farm you encourage the development of a prosperous, accessible, equitable local food system dedicated to community health and wellness.