Taste sausages – choose your favourite, eat some of Ottawa’s finest street-food, learn about what is happening with Grazing Days – join us on April 10th!
Who: Everyone is welcome. Anyone who is a Grazing Days customer or a farm supporter. The only catch is that the room’s capacity is 80 people – reserve your ticket(s) early.
Where: Centretown – exact location will be shared when you reserve your ticket(s).
Please reserve your ticket(s) by completing the form below. Tickets are priced to help cover the cost of the catering: $13 per full portion and $5 per kid portion and are payable at the door.Sorry this event is now sold out
6:30pm Sausage Fest! (Did we mention Gluten Free Sausages?!)
Since we have moved to our new farm, we have started to work with a local-to-the-farm sausage maker: Ferme Moreau. For Sausage Fest, they have prepared 5 different kinds of Gluten Free sausages with Grazing Days beef for all of us to sample. The favourite sausage of the evening will become the standard sausage in the Grazing Days beef boxes.
These 5 sausages will be going toe to toe for the honour:
(We will have extra packages of frozen sausages for sale at $10.00 per package if there are any sausages you would like to try cooking at home…)
- Beefeater Sausage
- Farmers’ Sausage
- Fine Herbs Sausage
- Mild Italian Sausage
- Tomato Basil Sausage
7:00pm Gongfu Bao meal!
Our good friend Tarek at Gongfu Bao (http://www.gongfu.ca/), the source of some of Ottawa’s tastiest street food, is kindly working with us to cater the event. He’s cooking up some tasty Grazing Days beef for his steam buns to go along with the Sausage Fest theme. (Vegetarian and / or Gluten Free options are also available). Tickets are $13 for Full portions – which includes 2 steam buns (or similar) and a side and $5 for Kid portions – 1 steam bun (or similar). Drinks will be sold separately.
As a side note, in the past, Grazing Days has often opted for the potluck, as the way to share a meal at our events. Our hunch is that some of our customers chose not to come to events because of the potluck component. We’re excited to see if catered food is a more appealing option.
8 :00pm Grazing Days Annual Meeting
We’ll cap off the evening with a quick review of the Grazing Days 2014/2015 season, a peak at Grazing Days’ finances, and some musings about what we are looking forward to and thinking about on the farm for 2015/ 2016 and beyond.
We’ll have some Twister-type activities to keep the younger (and older) crowd occupied during this part of the evening.
If you have an existing farm business and are looking for land, we invite you to submit a proposal to join Ferme Aube aux champs land management co-op.
Who : farm businesses looking for land and who have a desire to farm collectively
What: Move farm operation to Ferme Aube aux champs and join a co-op that manages infrastructure and land resource base.
When: Spring 2015.
Where: Saint-André-Avellin, Québec.
Why: To facilitate young farmer land access, to increase biodiversity, to grow quality food.
La Ferme Aube aux champs is a small family farm, purchased in early 2014 with the intention of growing our existing farm business, Grazing Days, and of setting up a collective farm with other compatible farm businesses. We are now actively seeking other experienced farming units to join us.
2. Ferme Aube aux champs background
2.1. The land and the farm
Ferme Aube aux champs is a farm in St.-André-Avellin, Québec, that is owned and operated by Josée Cyr-Charlebois and Paul Slomp and their 2 year old child. The farm is currently 270 acres which is made up of approximately 30 acres of rock and bush, 20 acres of permanent pasture with shallow and exposed bed rock, and 220 arable acres.
The home farm, which is owned by Josée and Paul consists of 100 acres, most of which is tile drained. Ferme Aube aux champs has an accepted offer on the neighbouring 170 acres of land (not tile drained), pending provincial government approval. Until the sale of the 170 acres is finalized, Ferme Aube aux champs has a registered lease on the land which expires in December 2018.
The farm is about 2 km long and about 0.75 km wide with heavy clay soils on the Southern tip and in the middle, loam soils in the South and sandy soils in the North. Most of the farm has deep clay sub-soils.
Josée and Paul acquired the farm in May of 2014. Prior to their acquisition, 50 acres had been used to make hay and 180 acres had been used for cash crops (GM soybeans in 2013). All of the arable land has been seeded to a legume and grass mixture and is currently used on a hay / grazing rotation.
Soil samples have been taken on most of the farm, and soil amendments have started. The aim is to be certified organic by the fall of 2017.
1 house, 1 old garage, 1 heated shop, 3 hay sheds, 1 barn, 1 machinery shed.
65hp tractor 4wd, loader, cab (JD 2007), disc bine, rake, tedder, round baler, 2 hay wagons, swather, combine, generator, post pounder, plow, S-tine, grading blade, forklift forks, quad, wide variety of tools.
7000ft buried waterline (pressure system), corral, electric fences, 2 walk-in freezers (8ft x 11ft), 1 walk-in cooler (8ft x 10ft).
2.2. The market
Saint-André-Avellin is an hour outside of Ottawa and an hour and a half outside of Montréal. It is near Mont-Tremblant and has a vibrant organic farming community, which includes a local Marché de solidarité 15 kilometres from the farm.
2.3. Grazing Days
Currently the only enterprise on the farm is Grazing Days. Grazing Days intensive-rotationally-grazes 45 cow calf pairs on the farm and each year delivers the meat from 40 grass-fed cattle to approximately 250 households in the Ottawa / Gatineau area. For more information visit www.grazingdays.ca and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75nwvIK2AMs
2.4. Josée Cyr-Charlebois
Josée grew up in the city of Ottawa. She has a Masters in political sociology, and has worked doing social justice advocacy for research institutes and community based organizations. Her first summer on the farm involved setting up a quarter acre family garden, tending to laying hens and growing a small plot of wheat. In the years ahead, Josée will focus her energies on building the wheat plots to launch a processing business and find ways to incorporate her background in community development here on the farm (community spaces, day programs, farm camps/retreats).
2.5. Paul Slomp
Paul was raised on a dairy farm in central Alberta. He studied civil engineering and after university, spent four years working with smallholder farmers in Ghana, Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda. He realized that smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are facing the same issues as farmers in Canada (getting goods to market, getting paid a fair price for these goods, rising input costs, access to capital and control over input and market prices). Paul started farming in 2010 to demonstrate alternative ways of growing food than the prescribed industrial style of agriculture and to advocate for policies that acknowledge existing differences in power and the undeniable bonds between farmers, eaters and the planet— in Canada and the rest of the world.
3. Ferme Aube aux champs in the long term (the vision – collective farm/ land management co-op)
Success in sustainable ecological agriculture depends on biodiversity. Traditionally this biodiversity was reached by having mixed farms with many different farming enterprises existing on the same farm property and working in symbiosis with one another. The manure from a livestock enterprise was used to fertilize the soil of a vegetable enterprise. In return some of the unsellable or damaged goods from the vegetable enterprise were fed to the livestock. Having many farming enterprises on the same farm makes sense biologically. Unfortunately, to be successful economically a mixed farm requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill in vastly different subject matters, a huge amount of work, and large investments in land, marketing, and tools. These requirements make mixed farming very difficult to be economically viable with single farm operators.
We would like to run a mixed farm on Ferme Aube aux champs to maximize the biodiversity and the ecological sustainability of the farm. In order to accomplish this while making it economically viable, we would like to set up a co-operative of two or three different farm units farming collectively on the farm property. Each farm unit would be an economically independent business responsible for one or two of its own farming enterprises and responsible for its own financial viability. At the same time each farm unit would share in the long-term vision of the farm, contribute to the biodiversity on the farm, and lend knowledge, skill, time and investment into the long term success of the farm. Each farm unit would have its own housing.
We are farmers who care about the long term sustainability of what we do. We think about how the food we produce influences those around us and contributes to shaping a food system that respects people, the societies they live in and the planet. We are looking to build a co-operative of farm families to share a land base, tools and infrastructure, as well as marketing efforts.
4. Ferme Aube aux champs : Next steps – selection of a new farm enterprise(s) / farm unit(s)
We are looking to select farm units to join us on the property. We are looking for compatible farm enterprises such as market gardens, beekeeping, mushroom growing, nuts and fruits. The process we have set up to achieve this goal is as follows:
4.1. Release of the Call for proposals. Proposals should include a detailed business plan, relevant farming experience, a short bio of the members of the farming unit, the reason why you’re interested in the opportunity and where you see yourselves in ten years.
4.2. Information Day at Ferme Aube aux champs. To be held on January 18th 2015.
4.3. Proposal submission deadline. February 1st 2015.
4.4. Second round conversations. We will get back to applicants by February 8th 2015.
4.5. Final selection of farm enterprise(s) / farm unit(s). By February 15th 2015.
4.6. Trial growing /harvesting/ processing season. Spring , summer, fall 2015.
4.7. Launching of Ferme Aube aux champs co-op . If the trial is successful, we start the conversation about setting up of the co-op in the fall of 2015.
The season has confirmed that we want to build community and farm collectively. The land and its farmers are craving it. If you are a farmer looking for land and interested in farming collectively, we invite you to submit a proposal. We look forward to hearing from you.
Are you ready for a peak at Grazing Days’ new farm?
With the summer winding down, we’ve been getting the farm ready for our (and our cow-calf herd’s) first winter here in Saint-André-Avellin. We’ve been looking forward to hosting our first Fall Open House here, and showing you what we’ve been working on since moving to the farm in May.
- What: Farm Open House and Potluck.
- Who: Everyone is welcome.
- When: On Saturday, 20 September 2014, from 3pm to 7pm, with a potluck at 5:30.
- Where: 567 Rang Ste-Julie Est, 4km outside of the town of Saint-André-Avellin, Québec. (Click here for a map).
- What: Together, we will take a walking tour of the Grazing Days/Aube aux champs farm and pastures. We will explore a pasture cross-section, and have some fun activities for all.
You will get a chance to see the infrastructure projects we’ve been working on, our two cattle herds, as well as how the cattle get moved to fresh grass every day and learn how this intensive rotational grazing system helps Grazing Days raise delicious grass-fed beef in a way that builds soil, sequesters carbon and rejuvenates aquifers.
- How: Please RSVP at email@example.com and let us know how many of you are coming.
- Please Bring: Rain gear, something warm to wear, sun screen, and comfortable closed toe shoes or rubber boots that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet. A dish to share with others at the potluck and your own plates, cutlery and cups.
Looking forward to seeing you this Saturday !
Josée et Paul.
Save the Date – March 29th, 2014 – You are Invited
The main way that Grazing Days markets its grass-fed beef is through its Community Shared Agriculture or CSA program (the monthly or bi-monthly home deliveries of beef). This is very beneficial for Grazing Days for a number of reasons.
First, we know at the beginning of the season how much of our beef has been spoken for and how much marketing / outreach we need to do throughout the growing season to ensure that we don’t end up with a few thousand pounds of unsold meat for which we won’t be paid. Second, as people pay for their beef orders in advance, prior to receiving their first delivery, it helps Grazing Days manage its cash flow. Finally, by participating in the CSA, our customers acknowledge that there is a lot of risk involved in any agricultural enterprise (due to weather, pest and disease, etc.) and as a result, they agree to be flexible with their expectations (in regards to the exact content of the beef delivery, its timing, etc.)
In return for these benefits, Grazing Day has a number of responsibilities to its members. First, we agree to be completely transparent in terms of our farming practices, challenges that the farm is facing and the direction in which we are hoping to take the farm in the future. Second, we agree to make public the farm’s financial statements. We acknowledge that our customers pay a lot of money for beef each year and in return, we want to show you where that money goes.
One of the main ways we live up to our responsibilities is by inviting everyone to an annual Grazing Days customer meeting and potluck. This year is no exception. Here are the details:
- Who: Everyone is welcome: Anyone who is already a Grazing Days customer, is thinking about becoming a customer, or is a farm supporter in some other way.
- What: 4:00pm: An interactive business meeting to go over our 2013/2014 season, look at the Grazing Days finances, and explore the future direction of the farm.
- When: March 29th, 2014 from 4:00pm until 7:00pm
- Where: Meeting room of CCOC Beaver Barracks at 464 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 0P3 (near Metcalfe and Catherine)
- How: Please RSVP by March 24th at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how many of you are coming.
- Please bring: A dish to share with everyone at the potluck and your own plates, cutlery and cups. (There are power outlets and there is one stove/oven in the Beaver Barracks meeting room).
5:30pm: Potluck and social time
A note about “Family Friendly”
In the past, we’ve advertised Grazing Days customer meetings and potlucks as “Family Friendly”. It has become painfully clear to us that we had no idea what that meant prior to having a child—and that having paper and crayons on offer does not make a meeting “kid and parent friendly.” Our apologies. Although the meeting is still not really an ideal place for children, we are completely open to having rambunctious children in our presence during the meeting and we have moved the meeting time to the afternoon/early evening to be more accommodating. If you have any ideas about how these meetings can be more family friendly please let us know, we’re all ears.
(That being said, there will be crayons and paper)