Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Harvesting a Local M.E.A.L. - It's Time to Farm!

It's Time to Farm
I planted seeds this week.
Spring is the most optimistic season.
Seeds are faith and hope and life in the future.
Planting made me feel righteous and peaceful and quietly determined to thrive.

A Local M.E.A.L.
Last week, many of us were inspired in Charlottetown by the combination of speaking about and listening to others discuss local food and our commitment to a way of life that serves everyone on this island.  A Local M.E.A.L.(Meet Eat And Learn) was a very satisfying serving of networking, tastes of local food and 10 presentations by and for all of us who like to eat locally and live well!  Please follow this link for more: A video of each presentation will be made available through the link.
Here's mine:

A Local M.E.A.L. - John Quimby from nick battist on Vimeo.

I'm excited to mention as a follow up to "A Local M.E.A.L". that I am working with my son's fifth grade
teacher to create a presentation called "Farming in the Classroom" which will feature 3 hands-on project
demonstrations related to local food production and farming. We will be planting and growing seeds in a local school. We will be integrating the results of these student projects into our spring planting on the farm so  students will know that their work is included directly into our farm and will produce food that is available to their families. We want to teach that they aren't just consumers, they can be farmers too!  I'll be sharing more details and photos. This is really an exciting opportunity.      

Here's a Really Good Find!
I've mentioned before that we are increasing the number of open pollinated varieties that we buy, plant and harvest seed from.  Our goal is to always be able to grow non GMO, organic food from our own seed bank.
And I recently found a great resource online.  600 organic/open/heirloom tomato varieties are being offered at:  Our order was filled and returned promptly and I'm pleased now to refer them to you for this spring.

What's So Great About 600 Tomatoes?
As I browsed the choices I realized we could have exactly what we wanted for each of our seasons and customers. I got a small but super early variety (55 days) for our visitor and restaurant customers plus canning for our own needs. A flavourful French slicer for fresh summer eating,  An East German cherry for salads, the dusky and smoky Cherokee Purple for exceptional flavor, and a legendary Italian sauce tomato to mate with our garlic, basil and oregano in pasta and pizza sauces. And Gary Ibsen and Dagma Lacey threw in a bonus package of "Black Cherry" tomatoes for us to trial.  That's the beauty of bio-diversity friends.  You can find a seed for every need.

Local Organic Eggs and Chicken
I also placed orders this week for chicks to raise into laying hens and fresh meat birds this summer.  This is new to us and I'm relying on Joel Salatin's, "Pastured Poulty Profits" to guide us through brooding and pasturing our very small flock this year.  We are certified organic and so our chicken and eggs are already approved to be the only organic product I know of in our neighborhood.  But this is our first attempt!  So we'll need your support when the time comes for us to accept orders for organic eggs and chicken.  If our customers will help us by investing with us, we'll be a regular supplier of fresh, local, healthy, pasture raised, inspected by ACO and certified organic product. We're working for the gold standard in pasture raised meat birds and eggs.

Our chickens will be the primary customers for the organic pasture we nurture and the organic feed grains that we grow here this year.  All of this requires a substantial investment in seed, livestock, machines, time and labor. And we're adding time to teach our children to be part of the work raising chickens for your table. So a new generation will be learning how to grow feed and raise high value food while earning a share of the profits from our neighborhood poultry business. In other words, we're one of several small family owned businesses recreating the small mixed farm model that fed generations of PEI families and trained generations of good PEI farmers.

Your support,  through buying our product,  means that you are investing in your local food security as we keep and carry a small family farm on PEI into the next generation.                        

News Links:

Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags

JQ's Final Thought:
Demand-Side food security requires that consumers believe someone or something will always be able to deliver a sufficient and uninterrupted supply of food at a price they can afford over their entire life span.
Supply-Side food security means that you know and support a variety of local producers who put healthy, natural food on your table for generations.


Sally said...

That Joel Salatin book is a GREAT resource, we still turn to it often. You really should come up to the farm sometime. Check out the chicken tractors and things. Great presentation by the way and so glad to have met you finally!

John Quimby said...

Cool, thanks for letting me know that. I will be coming to see you and I look forward to learning more from you as we keep making baby steps forward! I watched yours again too and linked it to a friend of mine in Santa Barbara. He's working on setting up a local MEAL at the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. So the ripples from that event are traveling far and wide!

Allison Williamson said...

Hi John!

I am so happy to have found your blog. I am planning to move my family to PEI to begin practicing permaculture (pretty sure), and become self-sufficient. I have been devouring your blog posts, links and videos:) Thanks so much for sharing your journey, it is truly inspiring to farming newbies like myself.
I hope you will check out my new blog, as we have a bit in common as far as our copywriting/web media jobs go:) Perhaps you might appreciate my perspective in my first blog post there. Here's hoping to a great harvest! I am happy to learn I am not alone in my perception of how the world needs to change in order to survive in a sustainable fashion. I'll be sure to visit your family farm with my own brood once we make our way from Ontario to PEI (no worries 'bout the Ontario thing, I'm originally from Cape Breton, NS lol).