Know your food, know your farmer is the motto for Everdale, a 50-acre organic farm located on Sixth Line in Hillsburgh.
Each year, Everdale produces enough food to feed more than 300 families. Twenty to 30 seasonal fruits and vegetables are grown and sold to the public through farmers markets and Everdale’s Harvest Share Program. This program is based upon the Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) model where consumers purchase an upfront share in the farm, and in return they receive freshly harvested produce for 20 weeks.
In addition to these farming operations, Everdale operates an environmental learning centre that offers youth and adult programming. Children have an unique opportunity to visit the farm and experience first-hand how food is grown, either as part of a school group, or during the summer Kids Farm Camp. Adults can participate in two farmer training programs, Organic Farming Certificate (OFC) or Farmers Growing Farmers (FGF) program. The OFC is a 32-week on-farm internship where future farmers are trained in organic food production. The FGF program is designed to help farmers develop a comprehensive farm business plan.
“Our Farmers Growing Farmers program has been a tremendous success. To date, 50 new farmers have been trained through the FGF program,” says David Alexander, Everdale Program Coordinator.
In addition, numerous public workshops are organized and run throughout the year with topics focused on gardening and food production, livestock, and homesteading skills.
“Producing healthy food in a sustainable manner, with minimal impact to soil, water and air is important to Everdale,” adds Jennifer Lennie, Workshop and Event Coordinator.
“Also important is the transfer of knowledge of sustainable farming practices on to aspiring farmers to ensure the foundation of a strong local food system can be developed.”
Photo credits: Turnips, at right: kvphotoart.com.
Kids at Carrotfest: josborn
Originally published March 2011.