It's been one year of farming with Floreren Farm and we wanted to share some sweet highlights and next steps.
One year ago, we three new and young farmers started Floreren Farm nestled within a ‘mother farm’, Green Being Farm. The reasons we came together to this place were: to learn from Tarrah (someone we admire and who actively teaches new farmers how to farm), to work with people we love in order to grow our life dreams, and to stay close to some of our family.
Andrew joined us and grew a delicious assortment of market veggies--shiny tomatoes, crunchy “burpless” cucumbers, sweet wee squash, edible flowers, and other scrumptious pickings. Ilana grew medicinal herbs that began healing as soon as people walked into view of the garden. Bergamont, Echinacea, Tulsi, Hyssop, Blue Vervain, and many more herbs were seeded, tended, harvested, and dried to become someone’s medicine. I (Paul) planted the biggest seeds of all which grew into tree seedlings each great at producing oxygen, providing food, and restoring this land to patches of forest.
A big priority for our farm’s first year was to develop our farm plan in order to be financially sustainable into the future, with the broader goals of growing beauty, health, and contributing to justice in our community. Here are some highlights from our time here in Grey County, Three Fires Confederacy Territory:
Mentorship and community! In addition to the excitement of moving to a new (rural) place and starting a new business, we felt challenged and nervous. Tarrah, her family, and the warm welcoming neighbours helped to avoid many beginner mistakes and offered all the benefits of a supportive community. Thank you! We continue to learn the big lesson that to maintain healthy relationships it’s important to dedicate time for communication and clear written agreements--we encourage everyone to practice this.
Policy advocacy. Advocating for policy, which has a huge impact on farming communities, farm workers, farmers, and the land, often requires another set of skills and off-farm time commitment. Having an organization that analyzes policy and advocates on farmers’ behalf is really helpful! We have found that Canada’s smallest farmers’ union, the National Farmers’ Union, generally represents our values, and advocates for a farming future we would like to be part of.
Community engagement. We were excited to offer pick your own herbs, free workshops on consent and inclusivity, tours for family and friends, and community-funded Moon Mandala Menstrual Calendars, all of which are part of our beginning efforts to meaningfully serve our nearby communities. A big bout of thanks to our families in Ontario and from Nova Scotia, who continue to support and engage us! One last big piece is learning about the historical and ongoing relationships of people and the land on which we farm. Glen Trivett, an Ojibwe elder, offers workshops on the topic of Indigenous and settler relationships. These workshops, Kiinoo Mudwin, are informative and stimulating, providing more substance for Indigenous solidarity efforts.
Beauty and health. We grew food, medicine, and baby plants. These help to sustain human lives...so underrated! Other aspects of the ecosystems on which we are dependent are benefitted by these plants and the practices that we use as well. We also made a wee bit of money, yay! We get so excited to witness our lives transitioning into relationships that strive to heal people and the land! This opportunity and power comes with responsibility, so we continue to reflect on where we can address the issues in which we’re complicit (e.g., fossil fuels, plastic pollution, land “ownership”, etc.) and invite your creative feedback.
Now, Andrew is starting his own farm, Harvest Moon Farm, in the neighbouring community of Redwing Ontario, which is a fantastic accomplishment for him! ilana and I are thrilled to be growing Floreren Farm for another year in the same spot, at Green Being Farm. This upcoming season we are applying what we’ve learned in our first year with more focus and experience. We’d love your support, curiosity, and excitement in achieving these goals!
- Designing, or finding an existing way (e.g., old tobacco kiln), to dry bulk amounts of medicinal herbs quickly and efficiently.
- Connecting with herbalists, tincture makers, and people looking to source organic/ecological locally grown herbs.
- Growing more perennial plants--trees, shrubs, herbs--and sharing our education of agroforestry and permaculture with more people.
- More people to work with to build diverse, supportive, and caring community relationships.
If any of the above was of interest see below for ways to watch us grow and connect for potential collaborations:
Facebook and Instagram (@florerenfarm),
Email us Florerefarm@gmail.com,
Our website www.florerenfarm.com,
Thanks for reading!
Paul & ilana