Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Field Naturalists Experience Organic Farming Firsthand

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted June 8, 2003

Field Naturalists Experience Organic Farming Firsthand 

SeedlingRespect for soil, plants, animals, air and water contribute to respect for people and the planet. This message became very evident as over thirty members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and guests enjoyed an outing at Bruce and Janet Duncan’s organic agriculture operation on Appleton Sideroad in Mississippi Mills, Sunday, June 8.

Participants were greeted by the event’s organizer Cliff Bennett and the hosts were introduced. Janet , in welcoming everyone to the farm, gave an outline of the morning’s activities.

As a follow-up to an indoor presentation by the Duncans in February of this year, the group was treated to a tractor ride through lush, non chemically or commercially fertilized hay fields, to view an impressive herd of prize red poll cattle. The Duncans explained how their philosophy related to the raising of these cattle to provide chemically free meat and milk as well as breeding stock for other breeders.

A special feature at the Duncans’ farm is a newly organized community-shared organic garden, operated by Hillary Chop. Hillary took the group on a tour of the operation and explained the idea of Community Shared Agriculture (CSA), a growing concept in which consumers get a diversity of high quality, fresh vegetables to their table at an affordable price while supporting small scale environmentally friendly farming.

The fact that CSA is flourishing is an achievement that deserves recognition. For too long consumers, farmers, and the environment have all been the big losers in the conventional food system. We don’t need to mention who the winners have been. Hillary has fifty shareholders in her operation, all enjoying fresh, organically grown veggies as the season progresses.

Back at the Duncans’ farm house, the barbecues were stoked and grilling creative shih-ka-bobs soon lent a delicious aroma to the air. After a very satisfying lunch, the hosts were thanked by MVFN member Noel Noyes-Brown, who presented the Duncans with a token of appreciation.

The next MVFN activity is an outdoor trek to the White Lake Fen, on Sunday, June 22. This visit to one of our rarer ecological environments is open to all MVFN members and guests as well as the general public. Details to follow.

Continue reading...

Organic Farming Aids Natural World

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by Cliff Bennett
Feb. 23 2003

Growing Food Naturally

SeedlingIn keeping with its broad mandate of concern for our natural world, members and guests of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists were treated to a dynamic presentation on organic farming, at its Feb. meeting, held in Almonte. Bruce and Janet Duncan, who operated a certified organic farm on County Road 17 in Ramsay Ward of Mississippi Mills, enthralled their audience with a slide show of their farm and its operations, complimented by a vivid description of the history of their farm, how they got into organic growing and finally, a description of the current state of organic growing in Canada. They noted that most of their products from their 150 acre farm, are sold locally.

Key to the Duncans’ presentation was the fact that, through maintaining rigid values in organic farming, they are not only enhancing the health of all citizens who consume organic products, they help protect the environment from continual contamination by chemical and artificial agricultural practices. On their organic farm, the Duncans grow a diversity of crops, using low and no till operations, all without the use of pesticides and herbicides. As a result, critters on and in the ground are not poisoned nor are the birds which eat them.

Introduced by MVFN Chair of Environmental Issues Susan Fisher, Janet and Bruce entertained questions from the audience which lasted well over one half hour. In thanking them, Susan presented the Duncans with a gift of an environmental book. Refreshments were served after the meeting.

The next MVFN event will be a meeting on Thursday March 20, at which noted birder and naturalist Paul Jones, will present documentation and slides on the current on-going Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.

Continue reading...