Antigonish Agenda

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Small Farm Expo 2017
Bethany Garden, Antigonish
July 24th, 2017
9:00 - 9:30 Welcome
9:30 - 10:30 Small Scale Market Gardening
David and Jen Greenberg
10:30 - 11:00 Networking Break
11:00 - 12:00 Compost Essentials
Leonard Vassalo
Blue Heron Farm
Direct Marketing Local Beef
Daniel Thompson
"Value-Added Hemp Products"
Brad Jardine
Northumberland Hemp
12:00 - 1:30 Lunch
Visit Tradeshow Booths
1:30 - 2:30 Beef Production and Pasture Renovation
Gabe Chisholm
"Things my Business Has Taught Me"
Marilyn MacDonald
Bayside Gardens
Malagash Cidery: Making the Most of your Crop
Sebastian Margarit and Brenna Koneczny
Vista Bella Farm
2:30 - 3:30 Small Scale Beef and Sheep Production
Sarah Nettleton
Rock Loaf Farm
Lessons Learned from Market Gardening
Joanne VanderLinden
Lindenright Farms
Value-adding for Profit
Ben and Margaret Cornect
Cornect Family Farm
3:30 - 3:45 Wrap up and Evaluations
*Biosecurity measures will be in place – please wear appropriate footwear (i.e. no flip flops)

Compost Essentials

Blue Heron farm is a small-scale farm using organic practices, including on-site composting and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. This family run operation specializes in 4-season gardening and uses covered rows and high tunnels extensively as a way to extend the season and protect against varying weather conditions. Blue Heron Farm is located in Gardiner Mines.

Leonard Vassallo has a B.Sc.(StFXU) and M.Sc.(MUN) in Biology. He has a Diploma in Composting from the University of Maine and has offered composting courses/workshops both in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Beef Production and Pasture Renovation

Sweet Mountain Farm is a 6th generation mixed operation nestled in the rolling hills of the Ohio Valley, approximately 20 minutes outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Our family business is built upon three diverse revenue streams: sawmill (hardwood), maple syrup and grass-finished beef. Sustainability is a central premise of all decisions made on the farm, not least of which is the way in which they raise their Red Devon beef. Guided by the successes experienced by grass-finishing beef farmers across this, and other countries, Sweet Mountain Farm is currently in a growth-phase, implementing infrastructure and practices that work in concert with the health of the soil, animals and planet. Through implementation of an efficient high stock density rotational grazing, they have been able to significantly improve grass ecosystems and soil quality on the farm without using the conventional seed inputs, off-farm soil amendments or equipment to do so. Among other things, they have also been working with new genetic selection and calving practices with encouraging results. While agriculture is often condemned as being a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, their farm seeks to show how a small, family-run, beef operation can be environmentally sustainable, healthy, efficient and profitable.

***The talk given by Gabe Chisholm will include discussion of the technical aspects of rotational grazing, grass finishing and the appropriate genetics for these systems.

Things My Business Has Taught Me

Marilyn owns and operates a seasonal garden center and complete service flower shop. As well, she has a small farm property that they are developing as a perennial and cut flower nursery which presently serves some of the needs of our retail business.

Small Scale Beef and Sheep Production

Sarah grew up with 5 siblings on a sheep farm with cattle, horses and the usual menagerie of animals that one finds on a farm. She has a degree in Agriculture (majoring in crop science); a Masters Degree in Extension and Adult Education from the University of Guelph; and gained a Bachelor of Education from StFX. She grew up heavily involved in 4-h, where she gained early experiences as a public speaker. Her first off farm job as a 14 year old was moving Bob calves through the ring at the Maritime Cattle Market. She lived in Ontario for 10 years before returning to NS and finally settling back in Arichat where she owns and operates the family sheep farm with her husband, 4 sons and her mother. Sarah also has experience in large tree nursery, Greenhouse, Garden Centre, Shepherding in Yorkshire, sheep shearing & flock management, Adult Literacy; teaching; and international travel.

Lessons Learned from Market Gardening

Joanne and Harry Van der Linden, along with their son Jason, operate Lindenright Holsteins in Antigonish. The farm was purchased in 1983 and now milks over 100 cows with 250 head in total. Besides the milk sales the farm regularly sells breeding stock, embryos and bulls to the AI industry. They never planned to get into market gardening but once they did it snowballed. The whole family, especially the children, learned lots of lessons about marketing, the potential of creating something from nothing with lots of hard work and perseverance, and the possibilities that exist in this world for those willing to put in the effort. Veggies and Blooms was the name of their organic garden business that operated for seven years.

Malagash Cidery: Making the Most of your Crop

Sebastian holds a Bsc in Ag and Msc in Ag and is currently working on his Phd with a focus on micronutrient fertility in potatoes, data collection and statistical analysis. Brenna is a BFA grad from NSCAD and a BSW grad from Univ of Victoria. Together, they reside in Malagash Nova Scotia with their three boys, Yuri, Taran and Marty. Over the past 10 years, Sebastian and Brenna  have grown their hobby farm to a commercial operation, their dream. Five years ago they purchased a neighbouring orchard and never looked back!  Now, Vista Bella Farm is caring for just under 5000 fruit trees including over 80 apple cultivars alongside plums, cherries and pears.  For many years Sebastian and Brenna have worked towards running a viable operation where they could provide meaningful full time employment to individuals in their community, and eventually, themselves.  Now, with the addition of their cidery aka Malagash Cidery, their business is taking off and both Sebastian and Brenna are excited to move forward.  They look forward to sharing their struggles but also their positive business results that came from their value-added operational strategies that aimed to make the most of the fruits of their labour.