By now you may have heard that Goodness Me! has our very own farm from which we source produce to fill our shelves. But here's 6 things you may not know about our farm!
1. It's certified organic. Organic certification is a lengthy process. It involves contacting a certification body 3 years before you want to start producing goods, during which time your farm needs to be pure and untouched by chemicals or antibiotics. If the three year period passes successfully, you then have to wait for 15 months for certification. You then have to make sure you follow certain protocols and guidelines. For example, protecting the environment, minimizing soil degradation, maintaining biological diversity, and recycling. Certified organic farms cannot use genetic engineering, synthetic pesticides or growth regulators, or other chemicals. In short? Certified organic farms need to be natural. Why did we get certification? Because we care about the earth, about real food, and about you.
2. It's local! Our farm is located in Campbellville, Ontario--just 30 minutes from most of our locations. This means that the produce comes locally and just has a short trip from farm to shelf to your hands. It also helps support our local economy. It's a win-win-win!
3. Our farmers, David and Meiring Beyers, weren't always organic farmers. Their background is in conventional farming, but David was astounded by the amount of chemicals that were used in that type of work, and it started to both him--physically, but also from a conscience standpoint. He experienced headaches, lack of sleep, and other side effects from inhaling the chemicals all day long. He didn't feel right about working with the substances, but also about selling the products to other people to ingest. He says, "I started thinking about if it could be done otherwise, and if we can do it organically, why not? It's easier, it's way more healthy, and you feel better. It just makes sense. And it's here, in the heart."
4. They use teas to help keep pests away! When working on an organic farm, you can't use things like synthetic pesticides and chemicals. So they had to get creative! They take herbs like nettle and horsetail, brew them into teas, strain them, and use them as sprays for the crops. For example, nettle helps to keep the bugs away--not killing them, but keeping them off the plants. It works fantastically and is a completely natural resource.
5. They believe in biodiversity. Interplanting helps maintain the health of the soil, the strength of the crops, and the life of the entire farm--from land to insect to animal. Certain plans help each other out: they guard against insects and feed nutrients through the soil. The idea is to try and plant them together so that one helps the other, using less of the soil nutrients so the other plan can soak them up. One gives, and the other takes. For example, there's something called the Three Sisters: you plant corn, beans, and squash together. The corn grows, and the beans grow underneath the corn, supplying nitrogen to the corn. The squash is a broadleaf, supplying shade to the soil. They help each other out.
6. It's stressful and it's hard work--but it's worth it. With limited labour, no pesticides or growth supplements to guard against a poor harvest, and being dependant on the weather (May was a dry month, which put plans behind a bit) it can be a challenge to operate a certified organic farm. So why do they do it? "The amazing part is that it's incredibly rewarding. It's something for the community, it's not something that's just grown to make money. It's something to give back to the community, and that's really important to us. It's for the people, for the earth, and about being good to the environment."
Our organic farm delivers fresh produce to our Goodness Me! stores on a regular basis. For delivery and crop information at your nearest Goodness Me!, call or visit your local store and ask and fresh food employee for more information.
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