Organic


Asclepias 2
When you’re a farmer, you hear a lot about Yield. High-yielding varieties, “buy this product to increase your yield,” Yields of organic vs conventional, “we need to feed the world.” I’ll start this off by saying that I run a diversified small-scale organic farm that provides Bryan and I with 100% of our household income. Yields matter in our ability to do that. However not all of our crops yield well every year. We ensure our ability to pay all our bills, make our mortgage payments, keep our cash flow-ing during the winter months when we’re not selling anything, and […]

High Yields for Humans and and Biodiversity on ...


Principles of Organic
At the recent ACORN conference, Shannon spoke on a plenary panel called ‘Striking a Balance – Philosophy, Principles and Outcomes of Organic vs. Market Development and Profitability’. Other panelists were Allison Grant, Dr. Andrew Hammermeister, and Dr. Av Singh. This is what Shannon said:   “I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot over the course of the season and especially since this plenary topic was devised and I was asked to speak to it. I’ve delved more deeply into what these 4 Organic Principles mean to me – for my life, my farm, the life of other humans in […]

Principles of Organic vs. the Market


organic farm
This article was written for Rural Delivery’s November 2017 issue, with a focus on Organic Farming. I’m always surprised how many people don’t understand what organic means. I’ve heard people say they think it’s just a marketing term, a way to get more money. It’s possible, or rather likely, that many of the larger retailers and some farmers, got into growing and selling organic products for that reason…..to make a better profit. That happens because customers are asking for it. I mean, that’s how capitalism is supposed to work, right? You produce what the market demands. I don’t think that’s […]

What does Organic Mean? From the perspective of ...



female farmer
So, I (Shannon) was all set (and sponsored by Canadian Organic Growers, Island Natural Growers in BC and the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network) to attend the IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) NA (North America) General Assembly in Baltimore.  But just a few hours before I was set to leave for the airport I ended up with a bad toothache and was too nervous to fly and spend 5 days in an unknown city sleeping in a 6 bunk-bed hostel room with a sore tooth. So I cancelled my flight and accommodation. I ended up being able to […]

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (in North ...


ladybugs mating
*Shannon wrote this article for Rural Delivery magazine, one of our favourite magazines. Check it out if you’re not already a subscriber! Every so often, a customer at the farmers’ market asks me about pesticides. They know I’m an organic farmer and they’re specifically asking because they’ve heard there are pesticides allowed on organic farms.   First of all, what is a pesticide? It’s anything that is used to kill a pest. A pest can be a type of bacteria or fungus, an insect, a rodent, a mammal like a deer or coyote. A pest can be a plant like […]

Does Organic mean No Pesticides?


pea seed saving
To improve our food system, it’s not just about growing good food locally. To grow delicious vegetables, we first need to plant seeds. In the same way that vegetables don’t “come from the store,” neither do seeds. Seeds are also grown on farms. Our customers seek us out according to why, how, and what we grow; we also seek out seed that is grown in certain ways and with certain values. We’ve bought some really cool seeds bred by plant breeding elder Carol Deppe who says “When you breed a variety, you breed your own values right into the variety. […]

Farm-Raised Seeds: The 2016 Adventure