Ferme Aube aux champs/Grazing Days is launching an Incubator Farm. If you have a bit of experience and are interested in giving farming a go; if you’re looking for land or know someone who is, please read on, pass it on, and get in touch.
La Ferme Aube aux champs is a small family farm, purchased in early 2014 with the intention of growing our existing farm, Grazing Days. We are now actively seeking participants for our Incubator Farm project.
2. Ferme Aube aux champs background
2.1. The land and the farm
Ferme Aube aux champs is a farm St.-André-Avellin, QC that is owned and operated by Josée Cyr-Charlebois and Paul Slomp and their two young children. The farm is currently 370 acres of which 30 acres are rock and bush, 20 acres are permanent pasture with shallow and exposed bed rock, and 320 acres are arable.
The home farm, which is owned by Josée and Paul consists of 200 acres, half of which is tile drained. Ferme Aube aux champs currently rents 170 acres of neighbouring land (not tile drained), is hoping to purchase this land and has a registered lease on the land which expires in December 2018.
The farm runs about 2 km long and about 1 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 2018.
2 houses, 1 old garage, 1 heated shop, 3 hay sheds, 2 barns, 2 machinery sheds
70hp tractor 4wd, loader, cab (JD 2007), 60hp cab-less tractor, disc bine, rake, tedder, round baler, 2 hay wagons, swather, combine, generator, post pounder, plow, S-tine, grading blade, forklift forks, quad, hay wrapper, self-loading hay wagon, 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), refrigerated delivery vehicle.
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 and 20 pigs on the farm and each year delivers the meat from 40 grass-fed cattle and pork to approximately 250 households in the Ottawa / Gatineau area. For more information visit www.grazingdays.ca and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75nwvIK2AMs
Josée is from Ottawa. She has a Masters degree in sociology and has worked in community development in the promotion of human rights and health fields. She is interested in the political dimension of food sovereignty. Her first summers 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 will find ways to incorporate her background in community development here on the farm.
Paul was raised on a dairy farm in central Alberta. He studied civil engineering at the University of Alberta and after university, spent 4 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 (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) as farmers in Canada. 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 short-medium term – Establishing an Incubator Farm
We hope to welcome up to three vegetable growing operations which will each be able to use one drained acre. If others are interested in the project and have different enterprises in mind (bee-keeping, small livestock, etc.), we would be very eager to discuss your needs and accommodate.
This is an opportunity for individuals who want to get into farming, who have some experience, and who have the ability and desire to learn independently.
Infrastructure that will be available to participants (with usage fees):
Fertile land, water, shared housing, cold storage, storage, delivery vehicle, access to tractors and other farm machinery.
We are going to set up a mentorship program for participants. We are looking to financially compensate mentors for their time and efforts.
4. Next Steps: Selecting participants
In the following months, we are looking to select participants for the Incubator Farm project. The process we’ve set up is the following:
4.1. Release of the call for applications. Applications should include: A description of farm (and other) experience), a business plan (or a plan to create one) – please see our approximate cost of things on the farm here: Ferme Aube aux champs coüt pour le bail estimation, a short bio of the members of the farming enterprise, the reason why you’re interested in the opportunity.
4.2. Information Day at Ferme Aube aux champs : 1 November 2015.
4.3. Deadline for application: Spaces will be allocated until they are filled.
The farming season has confirmed that we want to build community and farm collectively here. The land and its farmers are craving it. We look forward to hearing from you.
Please submit your questions and applications by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org