Ron and Sheila were not raised on farms but grew up in small towns in Alberta. Even when living in the city we were always aware of the environment, recycling, we had a garden and liked preparing our own food. The passion that we had for the environment and clean food grew when our one year old daughter Erin was diagnosed with severe food allergies, environmental allergies and asthma. When we realized that allergies and sensitivities were what was causing her severe health concerns we instantly had to become more aware of what we were eating, its ingredients and the way that it was raised and produced. It us a number of years to figure out what she was allergic to. To do this we become label readers. We began to closely examine the way our food was raised and what our food contained.
We moved to the farm in 1992, we had never farmed before, and had not grown up on a farm. We had always been interested in farming and so on the advice of a friend we took a 10 day holistic management course which teaches a whole farm planning system that looks at the environmental, economic and social issues farmers face today. http://holisticmanagement.org/
These ten days shaped the direction that our lives and farm took. Through this course we were introduced to the idea of becoming a certified organic farmer. We were already concerned about the chemicals in our food and on our land, organic farming seemed to be a perfect fit and we immediately started turning our land organic.
Our first organic inspection was in 1993 and over the next few years we transitioned all of our land to organic hay land. During this time Sheila had become very ill and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. With the help of a naturopath she realized that the cause of the fibromyalgia was the food that she was eating. She had developed allergies that were making her sick. Sheila, and our daughters Shae and Erin were diagnosed with more food allergies and sensitivities. Wheat, gluten, nuts, artificial preservatives, artificial colourings, and dairy, were just a few of them. This just made us more passionate about looking at the food we were eating and how it was produced and raised.
Our livestock farming began in 1993 when we purchased a few cows and within a few years had a small (10 cows) herd of cows and calves. In An attempt to grow more of our own food so that we could control the food that we were all eating we raised our first flock of chickens In 1996 Sheila’s sister Dorothy gave us 80 four-week-old birds and we put them in a moveable chicken shelter. The girls moved them around the yard using two dollies. Our first flock of certified organic chickens was in 1997 and it was after this that we discovered the demand for quality organic meat in Alberta. In order to be able to eat sausages, hams bacon and deli meat we started to make our own using our own meat at a local butcher. We soon started selling these sausages, hams and bacons at the markets and once again we saw the need and the desire of people to have clean pure food without the chemicals that are found in conventional food. As we raised more meat, demand grew and in the summer of 2001 Ron was able to quit surveying and stay home full time.
Our first farmers market was in the summer of 1998 at the Blackfoot farmers market in Calgary. In 2000 we started at the Strathcona farmers market in Edmonton and in 2004 we went into the Calgary Farmers Market. We had found that we loved was selling the meat directly to the consumer through the farmers markets and so over the years we have sold at many different farmers markets all over Alberta.
In March 2012 we opened our new store in Edmonton, on Whyte Avenue in the Roots Community Building. This allowed us to have our products available seven days a week to our customers in Edmonton. In Jan 2014 we were very excited to start construction on our own poultry processing plant and meat cutting facility. This processing facility is located right here on the farm and should be operational by summer of 2015.
We strongly believe in the principals of organic, humane and sustainable farming. We believe that these principles help not only the environment but also human health. We want to give as many people as possible access to healthy clean food. We continue to learn and do everything we can to better the environment, the health of our animals and the health of our customers and family.