In the last couple of weeks I have been viewing and listing to motivational speakers. It is the time of the year to think about the upcoming year and trying to set some goals for the rest of the year. A very common theme that the motivational speakers had was to dream. From the dreams we can then set goals to strive for. The backbone of dreams and goals are lifestyle goals. When we want to live as a better person and make the world a better place for us, our family and neighbors we can make goals based on this philosophy. A goal may never be fulfilled but if we have these goals in our mind or written down we can move our life in the direction of our goals. The path to our goals may be wavy, in fact it may be like a zigzag and if circumstances in life make us change the direction toward our goals we will always turn but still be guided to our goals.
One of the dreams that I had for my whole life was to live close to the land. When I was a child people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would answer that I wanted to be a Farmer. This was in the back of my mind for many years, a subconscious dream and in reality it shaped my life growing up. When I was a surveyor, some of my best days were when I was talking to farmers and asking about their farms. I enjoyed being on the cropland and prairie more than being in bush because I could see things growing and the cycles in mother nature. After we moved to our land in 1992 we took a Holistic Management course and Sheila and I set some written goals. The goals that were inside me were formalized by writing them down. The backbone was the lifestyle goals and then the farming goals were formulated.
One of the reasons that we moved from the city to the country was to grow clean food for our family. Sheila and our children had and still have many allergies and health challenges so our goals were influenced by their health. Our health was being compromised by diet and food that we ate. We knew that to help us gain optimum health we needed a super clean diet free of gluten, preservatives, antibiotics, herbicides/pesticides, artificial coloring and other products used in the growing and manufacturing of conventional foods. We would drive all over the city of Edmonton to try to source clean processed meat products only to have our daughter become ill after eating these products because of the preservatives and chemicals that were in the products. Sheila started becoming very ill after eating conventional beef and chicken and it took us a while to realize because of her antibiotic allergy she was having an allergic reaction to the meat. Only after eating meat that was produced by her sister from animals that didn’t have antibiotics that we made the connection.
We set our goals to raise livestock and have meat products that were clean. This is the reason that we are Certified Organic so that we can prove through third party audits that our products are clean and pure. We raise all of our animals on our farm so when you purchase products from us you know that we are the farmers. One of our goals was to have our own processing facility to processes our own chicken, cut our own beef and pork and make meat products that we could trust because we have had control of the process from start to the end. Since 2010 we have cut our meat and have made all of our processed products and since 2014 we have had our own poultry processing plant on the farm.
Another one of our goals was to raise animals as humanely as possible so we are audited by the BCSPCA to their animal welfare code. The BCSPCA has the highest standards of all the animal welfare certifiers in Canada. As a farm we are committed to being transparent in how our animals are raised.
So what are our goals this year? Our farm goals are to sell as much of our product directly to the consumer as possible. We will try to attend a few more farmers markets and explore the possibility of opening stand alone stores in Edmonton and Calgary. We would like to do a better job at encouraging young farmers who are interested in growing their organic farms or becoming organic farmers. We would like to plant more trees. When we bought the farm one of the first things we as a family did was to buy hundreds of trees and plant them all over the farm. We would like to do this again as age, hail and drought have thinned our natural tree stands. Another goal is to become more efficient in all aspects of our farm. This will be good for the environment, by using less fuel. We would also like to take advantage of existing technology to make things easier and more efficient for Sheila and Shae in the farm office.
We encourage you to dream and pursue your dreams and goals just as we continue to work at our goals of growing and providing pure, clean great food.