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Help Stop GM Alfalfa!

 Farm Philosophies  Comments Off on Help Stop GM Alfalfa!
Sep 262013
 

Just 2 days left to send your letter to the Ontario Environment Minister.

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Late this spring, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has recently approved one variety of genetically engineered alfalfa: a herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa from Monsanto/Forage Genetics International. This means that one variety of GM alfalfa is now legal to sell in Canada – it is not yet on the market.

Since the Canadian approval process for genetically engineered plants and animals happens behind closed doors, farmers still have many unanswered concerns about the risk of GM alfalfa cross pollinating with non-GM alfalfa and contaminating our environment with rogue GM genes. As a result, two farmers have formally asked the Ontario government to carry out an environmental assessment of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa before the seed is sold in the province. They launched an application, on behalf of many farmers across the province, under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.

Please help support family farms like Grazing Days and send a letter to the Ontario Environment Minister by September 29th to call on him to assess the environmental risks of GM Alfalfa .

Send your letter here: http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/GE-Crops-and-Foods-Not-on-the-Market/Alfalfa/Premier-action-letters/Letter-to-Ontario-s-Minister-of-Environment

 Posted by at 10:34 pm

Grazing Days Organic Week Farm Tour

 Events, Farm Updates  Comments Off on Grazing Days Organic Week Farm Tour
Sep 092013
 

organic_week_2013 As part of the 2013 Organic Week celebrations, Grazing Days is hosting a Farm Tour of the Grazing Days farm. Everyone is welcome*.

When: On Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 2:00pm until about 3:30pm.

Where: Grazing Days farm entrance is 400m West of Bowesville Road and Mitch Owens Road. (Click here for Directions)

What: Together, we will take a walking tour* of the Grazing Days pastures. You will get a chance to see how the cattle get moved to fresh grass every day and learn how this intensive rotational grazing system helps Grazing Days raise delicious grass-fed beef in a way that builds soil, sequesters carbon and rejuvenates aquifers. You will also get a chance to ask any questions you may have.

Please Bring: Rain gear, something warm to wear, Sun screen, Something to cover up against insect bites, a camera, and comfortable shoes or rubber boots that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet.

*Note: The farm tour will consist of a walk on uneven terrain and may not be suitable for people with mobility issues.

To find out more about Canadian Organic Week, please visit http://organicweek.ca/

 Posted by at 11:24 am

August 18th – Grazing Days will be Last Stop of COG Farm Tour

 Events, Uncategorized  Comments Off on August 18th – Grazing Days will be Last Stop of COG Farm Tour
Jul 252013
 

On Sunday August 18th, Grazing Days will be the last stop of the Canadian Organic Growers – Ottawa Chapter Farm Tour.

The tour will be visiting three different farms in the Greely / Manotick Station Area – just south of the Ottawa airport:

 

1. Morning: Arc Acres Farm (organic vegetables, beef and pork) between Manotick and Greely at 1538 Manotick Station Road (http://www.arcacres.ca)
2. Afternoon: (to be confirmed) Roots and Shoots Farm (certified organic vegetables) at the corner of Mitch Owens Drive and Manotick Station Road (http://www.rootsandshootsfarm.com)
3. Later afternoon: Grazing Days Farm (non-certified organic beef) just 400m from Roots and Shoots Farm (http://www.grazingdays.com)
Bring a picnic lunch and we’ll enjoy a picnic at a site along the way.

If you are interested in joining the farm tour, contact Dick at dcoote@xplornet.com to register.

 

Also please visit https://cog.ca/ottawa/organic-farm-and-gardentours/ for more details

 Posted by at 9:20 pm

Grazing Days and Roots and Shoots respond to Premier Wynne on agriculture

 In the News, Policy, Resources  Comments Off on Grazing Days and Roots and Shoots respond to Premier Wynne on agriculture
Jul 252013
 

On Monday, Robin Turner from Roots and Shoots Farm and Paul Slomp from Grazing Days were invited into the CBC All in a Day studio to share their thoughts about what Premier Wynne had to say about her vision for agriculture in Ontario. You can listen to the full interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/allinaday/2013/07/22/farmers-respond-to-premier-wynnes-agricultural-priorities/

 Posted by at 9:01 pm

Carbon Sequestration in Soil

 Farm Philosophies, Farm Questions  Comments Off on Carbon Sequestration in Soil
May 062013
 
Carbon Sequestration in land that is holistically managed

Carbon Sequestration in land that is holistically managed vs. land that is conventionally managed. Source: Holistic Resource Management by Allan Savory

I received an interesting E-mail over the weekend from someone in Sweden who had watched the Grazing Days video about intensive rotational grazing on Youtube and had the following question:

“Can intensive rotational grazing work as a carbon sink in cold and humid climates like Sweden and not “only” in dry climates like Allan Savory has proven without doubt?”

This was my response to the question:

Please note that I do not claim to be an expert on the subject matter. My understanding is based on things that I have read, heard, observed and reasoned, and I don’t know if any of it would stand up to scientific scrutiny. Having given you that disclaimer, my understanding of how carbon sequestration works using plants is that grasses play an important role – even in cold and humid climates.

There are three factors we need to consider in order to answer your question:
1) The part of the plant that will produce the carbon we are looking to sequester;
2) The role that humidity plays in the breaking down of carbon; and
3) The role that temperature plays in the breaking down of carbon.

I will walk through each of these factors below to come to my conclusion of why carbon sequestration in grasslands works even in cold and humid climates.

1) Which part of the plant will sequester carbon:
When grasses grow, they produce carbon-chains in two different places: in the foliage above the ground and in the roots below the soils surface. As far as I understand it, the carbon-chains in the foliage above the ground are quite unstable and break down (through digestion, or rotting) quite quickly, where the carbon-chains in the roots below the ground are very stable and take a long time to break down – and are a main source of energy to the microbiology in the soil that help with functions of water and nutrient transportation from the soil into the plants.

Many farmers I speak to believe that incorporating foliage organic matter into the soil helps build organic matter, but as far as I understand it this is a myth. Incorporating foliage into the soil, is like giving the soil a shot of white sugar, which releases a lot of energy very fast as it breaks down, as opposed to feeding the soil with root-based organic matter, which is acts like a complex carbohydrate like a piece of whole-grain bread and breaks down over longer periods of time.

What we learn from this is that the long-term build up of carbon in our soils is accomplished by continuous growth and re-growth of roots below the soil surface. Grasslands are an excellent environment for root growth and re-growth and thus are excellent at producing stable forms of carbon for our soil.

2) The role of humidity:
Carbon breaks down more readily in humid climates. Allan Savory has demonstrated this throughout his work and can be easily observed when we look at the decomposition of organic matter above the soil surface in humid climates (where it quickly rots- in a biological process) and compare it to the organic matter decomposition above the soil surface dry climates, (where it oxidizes slowly – in a chemical reaction). Organic matter breaks down much faster in humid climates in the presence of microbiology.

Healthy soils though, regardless of whether they are in dry or humid climates, break down organic matter biologically – in an environment where water present. Below the soil surface in a healthy pasture with very good soil cover, there is not a very large difference between a humid and a dry climate. Two factors that ensure that water is present in the soil for this biological decomposition are: good grass cover allows for rain water to infiltrate the soil slowly and good grass cover that protects the soil surface from direct sunlight. This ensures that the climate in the soil includes moisture to facilitate biological activity regardless of whether it is humid or dry above the soil.

What we learn from this is that the decomposition of carbon in our soils is not that different between humid and dry climates – as long as the soils being compared are protected by healthy grass-growth. Since carbon sequestration can happen in healthy soils in dry climates as Allan Savory has demonstrated, then we can reason it can also happen in humid climates.

3) The role of temperature:
Temperature would plays a role in determining the speed at which reactions take place. The same is true for the decomposition of carbon in the soil. The warmer the temperature, the faster the carbon will get broken down (either biologically or chemically). The colder the temperature, the slower the carbon will get broken down. From this we can reason that colder soils are more effective at storing carbon than soils in warmer climates.

Especially in places like Canada and Sweden where due to frost, all biological activity in our soils goes dormant for large parts of the year, we are able to build on and maintain soil carbon levels that are much higher than in soils that do not fall below 0 degrees Celsius at any point in the year. This is also demonstrated by the lower levels of carbon found in soils around the tropics when compared to the carbon levels in soils found in more temperate climates.

What we learn from this is that colder climates are in a better position to store carbon than warmer climates are.

Conclusion:

To answer your question – it is definitely possible to use intensive rotational grazing as a technique to sequester carbon in soils in more humid and cooler climates.

 Posted by at 11:24 am

Looking for a Farm

 Farm Updates  Comments Off on Looking for a Farm
Apr 232013
 

farmGrazing Days is looking for a farm to purchase. Please help us find the farm we are looking for. If you know of a farm that meets some of the criteria we have outlined below that is for sale please let us know. You can contact us by calling 613-898-9136 or by emailing us at info@grazingdays.com.

Since 2010, Grazing Days has been growing steadily and we are now at a point where we have reached the limits of what we can do on the 65 acres of pasture we are currently farming. In order to continue to serve people in Ottawa with delicious grass-fed meats, we are looking to move onto a slightly larger property and hope to set up an interesting project with some vegetable farmer friends.

Below is a list of criteria that we are looking for in this property, separated into non-negotiable criteria, that the property must have, and negotiable criteria that would be ideal, but not a necessity to have on the property.

Non-negotiable Criteria:

  • Size: Access to least 150 acres of tillable land (owned or available for lease on adjacent or nearby land)
  • School: Access to French education
  • Geology: Good soils
  • Land: Managed without toxic chemicals or contaminants

Negotiable Criteria:

  • Price: up to $600,000 (ideal) up to $900,000 (with lukewarm interest)
  • Access to Market: Within 90 minutes of Ottawa, ON
  • Housing: Two or more units for two or more families
  • Outbuildings: Barn, Machine Shed, Shop, Garage
  • Zoning: Agricultural, or Agricultural / commercial
  • Features: Woodlot / Bush
  • Water: Source available for agricultural use

 

 

 Posted by at 1:21 pm

Sign up now open for 2013 / 2014 Grazing Days beef orders

 Farm Updates  Comments Off on Sign up now open for 2013 / 2014 Grazing Days beef orders
Mar 202013
 

Grazing Days Grass-Fed Beef

As of today, Grazing Days grass-fed beef CSA shares for the 2013/2014 grazing and delivery season are on sale and we are accepting orders through our website. We encourage you to sign up early to secure your spot in the CSA – even if you are not yet ready to make a payment for the share – signing up holds your spot.

 

Additionally, we are offering Early Bird prices on orders placed prior to June 1, 2013. After June 1st, prices will increase by $0.25 per pound.

 

The demand for grass-fed beef in the 2012 / 2013 Grazing Days season was far greater than we could have wished for. As a result, Grazing Days sold out of beef before the end of November (7 months earlier than the year before) and we have managed to build up a waiting list of about 170 households who are looking for grass-fed beef (to put this in perspective, we delivered beef to about 250 households in 2012). This year, we will be raising the same number of animals as we raised last year and we expect to sell out of Grazing Days CSA shares even faster this year.

 

To place your order of Grazing Days beef, please visit our website: http://www.grazingdays.com/our-food/our-beef-csa/

How does the Grazing Days grass-fed beef CSA work?

Grazing Days is a farm just south of Ottawa in Manotick Station. We raise tasty grass-fed beef that is good for our health, our environment, our community, and our economy. Between May and November, Grazing Days grazes 40 cattle on our farm, following the Canadian Organic Standards. From October until June, Grazing Days delivers the frozen meat from these animals to households throughout Ottawa. (Unfortunately we are not able to deliver into Quebec due to provincial meat inspection regulations, but we do have a pick-up location in the Glebe).

 

The Grazing Days grass-fed beef CSA works similar to a magazine subscription. Grazing Days delivers beef in small portions of 10 or 20 lbs that easily fit into the freezer above your fridge once a month or once every other month, depending on what you order.

 

There are 5 different CSA Share options to choose from: (please click here for more details)

Full Share – 8 deliveries of 10 lbs between October and June. This works out to about 2lbs of beef per week during the delivery season.

Half Share (our most common order) – 4 deliveries of 10 lbs between October and June. This works out to about 1 lb of beef per week during the delivery season.

Bulk Share – 4 deliveries of 20 lbs between October and June. This works out to about 2lbs of beef per week during the delivery season.

Mixed Eighth Share – 1 delivery of 40 lbs of beef.

Mixed Quarter Share – 1 delivery of 80 lbs of beef.

 

Percentage-wise each box of Grazing Days beef contains proportionately exactly what is in a cow: roughly 25% steak, 25% roast, and 50% ground beef. Each 10 lbs box contains two different cuts of steak (2 steaks per package), one 2.5 lbs roast with about 5 lbs of ground beef divided into 1 to 1.5 lbs packages. Each 20 lbs box contains twice that of a 10 lbs box. The mixed eighth and mixed quarter shares contain respectively 4 and 8 times that of a 10 lbs box.

 

Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is a way of producing and accessing food that focuses on the relationship between farmers and eaters. In this partnership, farmers commit producing delicious and healthy foods using agreed upon production practices. In return eaters agree to purchase food produced from the farm and agree to bear some of the risk involved in producing the food (related to weather, disease, and other factors beyond the farmer’s control).

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Grazing Cattle

 Posted by at 4:45 pm

Greening Deserts and Reversing Climate Change

 Farm Philosophies  Comments Off on Greening Deserts and Reversing Climate Change
Mar 202013
 
Allan Savory Ted Talk

Allan Savory in this hope-filled TEDtalk precisely articulates the thinking behind the grazing practices at Grazing Days. He is the genius responsible for developing the concepts of intensive rotational grazing that Grazing Days is putting into practice on our farm. This TEDtalk about Allan’s lifework greening world deserts, storing carbon in the soil and reversing climate change. Many thanks to Allan and his team for all of their work and for delivering this great talk for all of us to learn from and enjoy.

 Posted by at 12:24 pm