Despite the snowy weather forecast last Saturday several younger and older Peace Country Agrarians gathered during Organic Week to meet their farming neighbors.
The day began near Hythe, Alberta, where the Ludwig family welcomed us to Trickle Creek – a farm that is a leading example of self-sufficiency and resilience. While strolling through their 960 acre farm, we nearly had whiplash from not knowing which direction to look first – there was so much to take in.
Trickle Creek looks after nearly all their own food production which involves raising milk goats, sheep, and cows; pigs, cows, and chickens for meat; and laying hens and ducks. They keep bees for honey and grow their own fruit, vegetables, herbs, grains, and oil seeds. There were breathtaking discoveries all along the tour. We viewed their root cellar, greenhouses, flour mill, butcher shop, biofuel tanks, honey extraction room, woodshop, mechanic shop, soap-making cabin, dehydrating room, outdoor kitchen, wine and cheese cellar, pavilion for weaving and sewing, and much more.
We were able to meet and mingle with the hardworking family over a hot bowl of soup and freshly baked buns during lunch, followed by a barnyard tour for those who chose to leave the warmth of the dining hall. The Ludwigs couldn’t have welcomed us in a warmer way and we left the farm feeling very inspired, filled with appreciation, and with overflowing bellies.
The next stop, just a stone’s throw away: Armstrong Acres
Clay and Ash Armstrong, along with their two very young agrarians, are farming a mixed 160-acre operation, also near Hythe. As the temperature dropped and the wind speed picked up during our visit at Armstrong Acres, the tougher crowd of the day persevered and toured around the farm, learning about how Holistic Management has influenced the lives and farming practices of the Armstrongs.
Clay and Ash are first generation farmers. This is only their 8th winter on the farm, and they impressed us with their wealth of knowledge that has accumulated since their valiant decision to become farmers, despite never having been on a farm before. The young family is such a viable example for all new and aspiring farmers out there.
Though the Armstrongs raise chickens, pigs, and a couple dairy cows, Clay was most excited to demonstrate how they use cattle and winter grazing systems as tools to improve their land. Clay told us, “We use bale grazing to make poor land better, and good land great.” The next stop was the pasture where the Salatin-style chicken tractor left its tell-tale wake of lush regrowth behind it. We passed by Clay and Ash’s farm-product-laden mobile farm store before heading inside to warm our fingers with hot mugs of coffee and cocoa. The day would not have been complete without the signature YA potluck, with pulled-pork to boot – kudos to Clay and Ash.