News & Events

Attn: Pumpkin & Squash Growers!

Squash Bee Hunt @ Buckhorn Berry Farm


Monday August 11, 2014  |  8:00am Start Time

3055 Berrie Road, R.R. #1, Lakefield, Ontario
(meet in parking lot near on-farm store)

$10/person (max. 10 people)

Farms at Work invites you to join pollination biologist, Susan Chan on a pollinator field walk at Buckhorn Berry Farm to observe the nesting and foraging habits of the squash bee (Peponapis pruinosa), a native pollinator of pumpkins and squashes. Join Susan as she examines active squash bee ground nests and learn first-hand how to identify squash bees and their nests. Provided the conditions are favourable, there should also be ample opportunity to witness (and even handle!) these friendly pollinators hard at work!

For pumpkin and squash growers, this tour will be especially useful as these bees are specialist pollinators of Cucurbita crops. This means they are the most efficient and important agents of pollination for Cucurbita crops this side of the pumpkin patch!

Whether you've got five plants or five acres, if you're growing pumpkins or squash, you'll benefit greatly from hearing Susan speak about the pollination systems of pumpkin and squash plants. You'll also learn some effective strategies for fostering and encouraging more squash bees on your own property. 

Please RSVP by Friday August 8th:  (705) 743-7671  |

A Big Picture View on Pollinator Decline

Insightful New York Times Op-Ed Piece: Bees & Colony Collapse

Here's a great article for beekeepers, pollinator enthusiasts, and anyone interested in learning more about Colony Collapse Disorder. Mark Winston is a biologist and director for the Center of Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. 

Our Bees, Ourselves by Mark Winston

Click the image to read more... 


Hey Farmers, Have Your Say!

The University of Guelph is conducting a study as part of research being undertaken by the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

The study aims to better understand the challenges that farms and food businesses face in managing food safety and traceability. The results will help OMAFRA to improve the support services they provide to farms and food businesses in the province.

The results of the survey, which will take about 30 minutes to complete, will help design and build food safety programs to support farm businesses across the province. Click here to take the survey. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey please contact study coordinator, Professor Spencer Henson  |  (519) 814-4120 x53134.

University of Guelph - Food Safety Survey

Find Local Food

Find Local Food

Recently, we here at Farms at Work have been working to find ways of shortening the local food value chain in our region. We want to make it easier for food service providers to access and showcase the plethora of agricultural products available year round from farms throughout east central Ontario. We also want to help farmers find an easier way into local wholesale markets.

Back in March of this year, we launched Find Local Food, a simple and innovative way for food purchasers (think restaurants, caterers, hotels, resorts, schools, etc.) to connect directly with the hundreds of amazing farmers who grow food around the region, just like you!

The beauty of this new system is in its simplicity: purchasers quickly and easily create “Requests for Local Food” which get posted to our website, and are then sent directly to our farmer-subscribers. The goal of the platform is to simplify communication between the purchaser and producer. Once a request is posted, any farmer on our list who is interested in bidding on a contract can join the conversation. And the best part about it: the service is completely free to use!

If you’re interested in expanding into local wholesale markets, and having your food featured in places like restaurants, schools and resorts around the region, then sign up to receive Find Local Food notifications today!

For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Program Coordinator:  |  (705) 743-7671. 

Upcoming Seed Saving Workshop

Farms at Work

DIY Summer Workshop: Build Your Own Small Seed Winnower

Date:  Wednesday August 27, 2014

Time:  1:00pm - 4:00pm

Location:  The Cottage Gardener: Heirloom Seedhouse & Nursery (Newtonville, ON) 

Cost:  $65.00 per person (includes workshop materials)

Whether you are growing seed for sale or for on-farm use, one thing all seed producers have in common is the need for well-cleaned seed crops. With small seeds like brassicas, peppers, onions, herbs and flowers, removing chaff becomes more and more time-consuming as the quantity of seed is increased.

If you feel like you are past the point of hand-cleaning, and want to improve your efficiency, then join us for this hands-on workshop, where you'll build and take home your own small seed winnower.

Dan Brittain, of the Cottage Gardener, took an open-source design and has spent the last few years perfecting it. After several tweaks, the device has now improved the Brittain's production efficiency, and Dan would like to help other seed producers achieve the same results on their farms.

All the necessary materials will be included in the price of admission, with the exception of a simple hair-dryer, which can easily be added later. If you've already got one you'd like to use, bring it along so Dan can demonstrate how it fits into the design.

This workshop is being made possible thanks to the generous support of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Pre-registration is required as space is limited to 15 people. If there is enough interest, a second session for the same day will be opened up. Ticket sales start this Friday, May 30 at If you are unable to register because the session is full, please contact Jay from Farms at Work

The Cottage Gardener
Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security