News & Events

EFAO Conference Wrap Up

This past weekend, Farms at Work and partners FarmStart, Everdale and the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security gathered in Orillia for the first ever Ecological Farmers' Association of Ontario Conference.

Close to 300 farmers from across the province attended the two day event, and enjoyed over 30 workshops, several informative panel discussions, updates on initiatives from around the sector, networking opportunities with farmers and industry professionals, and some wonderful food and entertainment throughout the weekend.

As a supporting partner, Farms at Work was in charge of the Thursday night open mic and campfire, featuring farm band The Sandy Pockets, as well as the coordination of the Livestock stream of workshops. These included several intermediate- to advanced-level sessions led by experienced Ontario farmers on topics such as: Taking Your Cheese-Making to the Next Level; Winter Grazing; Farrowing Your Own Pigs; and Managing Worms in Organic Sheep Production. Each 90 minute session featured insightful presentations, and meaningful audience participation. Other informative workshop streams included: Business & Marketing; Diversified Grain Production; Soil and Stewardship & Energy.

Farms at Work is proud to have been a supporting partner in such a wonderful event. We met and were inspired by dozens of amazing farmers from across the province. We hope that the conference will become an annual event.

Watch for photos soon! 

Nature's Finest Fund

The Big Carrot - Nature's Finest Fund

For thirty years The Big Carrot has been searching for Nature’s Finest to provide our shoppers with delicious, nourishing and sustainable food. In celebration of this commitment The Big Carrot created the Nature’s Finest Fund. This annual grant program expands the availability of locally produced food and supports and strengthens the working relationships between local family farms and The Big Carrot.

As founding members of Carrot Cache (a small foundation that funds local organic food initiatives), we have seen the transformative power of investing in our regional food economy. Inspired by this success, we want to provide a similar opportunity for our own producers.

Five grants were awarded to Ontario farmers in the inaugural year of the Nature's Finest Fund increasing our supply of local beans, pastured chicken, organic vegetables and greens. The grants lent support to some long-standing producers as well as bringing new farmers into our community.

This year The Big Carrot is committing $15,000 for new grants to eligible Ontario Producers. For more information, visit the Nature's Finest Fund website


Farm to School: Grade 3 Initiative

Food For Kids Program

Farms at Work, in partnership with Food For Kids, worked last summer to produce a curriculum-linked presentation for grade 3 classrooms in Peterborough County.  Two local farmers, Erin McLean and Katie Jackson - who have previous experience in the classroom – were selected to go into four schools and present to four classes of children. 

They talked about the parts of a plant, and how everyday fruits and vegetables represent all the plant parts! They explored the cycle of seed-to-fruit-to-seed, and the idea of seasonality in Canada. Each student had a tasty vegetable snack and planted their own seeds to watch germinate and grow in the classroom. The farmers were also able to talk about the work they do on their farms.

It is hoped the program will continue and expand, but funding will be required. Contact Farms at Work or Food For Kids for more information.

Douro Community Centre Buzzing Over Pollinators

Pollinator Day in Peterborough County 

Pollinator Day in PTBO
On Saturday November 1st, nearly 100 farmers, gardeners and concerned citizens flocked to the Douro Community Centre to learn about native bees and beneficial insects. Led by pollination biologist, Susan Chan, Pollinator Day in Peterborough County introduced attendees to the fundamentals of bee biology, the inner workings of pollination systems, and the importance of healthy, diverse populations of native pollinating species on human ecology. 

On hand were several guest speakers who shared important insights on the roles and strategies being taken by government agencies to mitigate threats to native bees. Assistant Deputy Minister, Debra Sikora (OMAFRA) outlined some of the steps being taken as the Ministry works to develop a Pollinator Health Strategy for the province; Ecologist Team Leader for the Rouge National Urban Park, Dr. Leonardo Cabrera (PhD) spoke about the facinating research being conducted at Point Pelee and Rouge Urban National Parks on Monarch butterfly migration patterns; and Medical Officer of Health for the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, Dr. Rosana Pellizzari (MD) outlined the findings from a scientific literature review recently conducted by Public Health Ontario on the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticide usage on food security in Ontario. The Honourable Jeff Leal, Minster of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, also stopped by for lunch to show his support. 

Pollinator Day in PTBO

Also featured was the Pollinator Exhibition, a showcase of several regional businesses and organizations, including native plant suppliers, community gardening groups, conservation authorities and beekeeping experts, all of whom were on hand to celebrate their commitment pollinator conservation efforts across rural and urban landscapes throughout the region. 

Many thanks to all who came out for this informative event. Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and we very much appreciate the coverage by both CHEX TV and The Peterborough Examiner. We would also like to thank and acknowledge the Peterborough Foundation, without whose generous support this event would not have been possible. 

FCC Ag Knowledge Exchange Double Header

Farm Credit Canada

What You Should Know Before You Buy or Rent Farmland

Acquiring farmland is a complicated decision. You’ll get answers to common questions and be confident you’re getting the right land the right way, at the right time and for the right reasons.

Benefits of attending:

  • discover whether you should buy or rent
  • learn about the different costs of owning and renting
  • understand financing options and how interest rates affect payments
  • gain insight into the tax implications of buying farmland
  • identify practical considerations that will impact your decision
  • understand why it matters whose name you put on the title

How to Increase Profits Without Increasing Farm Size

Today's moderate-sized farms can be very profitable. Land and quota are big investments, so finding ways to add profitability to your existing production base becomes increasingly important.

Benefits of attending

  • understand how cost of production relates to profitability
  • explore strategies for optimizing yield
  • gain insight into cost control options
  • discover the benefits of different farm structures
  • learn how family dynamics can impact efficiency
  • explore examples of agricultural activities that can add profit

Lunch is being served.

When: Wednesday December 3, 2014  |  10:00am - 3:30pm

Where: Black Diamond Golf Club  |  705 Pontypool Rd. Pontypool, ON

Click here for more information