Cuddle up with the Laaaaaambs at 2 different farms close together – Long Way Homestead and Ferme Fiola Farm for a fun farming job in 2023. Anna and Luke, Christel and Joey all welcome you to come learn about homesteading and raising wooly sheep on the beautiful prairie near the lush boreal forest.
LONG WAY HOMESTEAD AND FERME FIOLA FARM
The farms are 5 minutes away from each other near Ste-Geneviève, Manitoba – Treaty 1 Territory
About Longway Homestead:
Long Way Homestead is a family owned and operated Sheep Farm and Wool Mill east of Winnipeg, in Ste. Genevieve, Treaty One Territory. The farm is situated on 140 acres at the edge of the Boreal Plains region. The land is a mix of forest dominated by Balsam Poplar, Jack Pine, and Black Spruce trees. Most of the farm is not cultivated, making it a perfect habitat for deer, coyotes, beaver, squirrels and many different species of birds. Cooks Creek runs through the property and much of the land is a thriving wetland – welcoming to Sand Cranes, downy woodpeckers, swallows, Canada goose, hummingbirds and cedar waxwings.
Long Way Homestead raise sheep and process wool in their very own wool processing mill. They also grow natural dye plants and are working on growing their own flax for linen. Anna, Luke and their kids love to host people and share what they have learned in the “growing textiles” world and hope that the farm becomes more of a learning hub. The sheep management is year round, but wool harvest is in late April and the summer is focused on wool processing. The natural dye gardens are active from May until September.
And in addition to fibre farming, the family grows a big garden, all their own veggies and some meat too.
Josh, Luke, Bohdan, Anna from Long Way Homestead
About Ferme Fiola Farm
he Fiola Farm operates on the 120-acre Fiola family homestead, located in the Franco-Manitoban community of Ste-Genevieve. Ferme Fiola sells direct market pasture raised lamb and wool products, pasture raised chickens, hay, straw, and some other grains (oats and some ancient grains). Their flock consists of 25 breeding ewes with the majority being Rideau Arcott with some Shetland, Rambouillet, and Romney crosses.
As stewards of the land, they want to ensure the land will be healthy for generations to come. They base their farming decisions with these values in mind: earth-friendly, sustainability, respect, and to use what nature offers them.
Christel, Joey and Family from Ferme Fiola Farm
About the apprenticeship:
The apprentice will work alongside Anna of Long Way Homestead and Christel of Ferme Fiola Farm to help with and learn about the care and management of sheep, chickens, and other small livestock, the production of natural dye gardens and the operations of fibre and sheepskin processing. This could include: feeding, watering, health checks/vaccinations/hoof trimming, lambing, shearing, moving electric fence, moving chicken tractors, The primary focus is on fibre production, and textile agriculture.
The apprentice will also be involved in maintaining and growing natural dye gardens and vegetables, this includes: planting, weeding, garden prep, new garden bed work, harvesting and packaging dye plants, some natural dyeing of fibre, helping with workshops on natural dyeing.
The apprenticeship would include an introduction to small animal hide tanning and the production of wool into yarn, and wool felt. There is opportunity for the apprentice to get hands-on experience in the wool mill if they choose – but a certain amount of felting, wool scouring and processing would be involved.
The apprentice would be included in on-farm events and workshops, including farm tours, learning the organizational, promotion and execution of agri-tourism. The apprentice may attend weekly/monthly farmers markets and be involved in the set up and sale of fibre and dye products.
The 2 farms completed their first year as mentors in 2022. Their apprentice meshed well into the farming and family dynamics and it was a very successful first season bringing in an apprentice to the unique fiber farming experience.
As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with the Manitoba group at each hosts farm. You will also be encouraged to attend a farm or food event, course or conference during or following the apprenticeship.
About the farm mentors:
Anna Hunter and Luke Palka are the owners of Long Way Homestead, along with their two sons. They are first generation farmers with a passion for regenerative agriculture focusing on textile systems. Anna Hunter would be the primary mentor from Long Way Homestead. Anna is passionate about creating local, resilient textile systems that are good for farmers, workers and the land.
Anna and indigo plant dye
Christel Lanthier and Joey Fiola, along with their three daughters, are the owners of Ferme Fiola Farm. They steward 120 acres of mixed use farm, hayland, pastured sheep and poultry. The Fiola family has stewarded their land for over 125 years with a focus on soil regeneration, diversified plants and animals. Christel Lanthier will be the primary mentor from Ferme Fiola Farm. She is focused on small animal hide tanning and utilizing all parts of the animal and a commitment to decolonizing agriculture.
Christel getting chewed by a llama
Skills this farm has to teach:
The following skills are being offered by this farm. While you’ll get exposure to many of these areas, it is likely that not all will be covered. Apprentices will work to identify the skills they want to develop through a learning plan with the host farm. The apprenticeship includes an in-depth manual that focuses on these various aspects of fibre farming and textile production. The apprentice is encouraged to dive deeper into these areas during the apprenticeship.
|fibre farming / Raising sheep||dying / processing wool|
|Nutrient Dense Food Production
DIRECT MARKETING / SOCIAL MEDIA
|USING A WOOL MILL / FELTING MILL
|ADAPTIVE PLANNED GRAZING / FENCING||Egg Production Poultry Husbandry|
Large Machinery operation
Skill required of the apprentice
*An interest in textile agriculture.
*Respectful and safe with kids (can tolerate youngsters around).
*Garden experience would be great (not required, but would be a bonus).
*Self Motived/self-starter can work independently but also asks questions.
*Comfortable with groups and a farm tour setting.
*have appropriate work clothes and footwear.
*Ability to perform manual tasks (lifting 55lb hay bales).
*Drivers license is an asset (not a requirement).
Housing, Stipend and Duration
*Housing details will be determined with applicant.
*Internet and laundry are available.
*Vehicle use would be on a case by case basis (to be determined with mentor and apprentice).
* A monthly stipend will be provided. Wages may grow if grants can be secured
* This apprenticeship provides significant training with a full manual
*Duration: May – August or June – September (4 months)
Shannon, apprentice from 2022, with dye plants
About the Community and Land
Ste, Genevieve is a beautiful community on the edge of the Boreal Forest. It is a short 35 minute drive to Winnipeg or Steinbach but still has a rural feel! The community is fairly small with a small community centre, corner store, and lots of other friendly farmers. The community has a surprising number of creative residents and workshops on various topics can often be found in the community.
“Long Way Homestead is on Treaty One Territory. We would like to acknowledge with a spirit of gratitude that we steward land on Treaty 1 territory – the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.” – Anna Hunter
Young Agrarians recognizes the unresolved Indigenous land title and rights in the diverse territories in what is today called Canada. As we live and work in the context of and in response to a colonial system of laws and policies, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of agriculture and land enclosure on Indigenous lands and food systems. In this context, we acknowledge our collective responsibility to position Indigenous Peoples and their experiences with coloniality, in a narrative of reconciliation that places ecology, land stewardship, and Indigenous land title and rights at the forefront – if we are to sustain the Earth’s ecosystems in today’s rapidly changing climate.
Our deepest hope is that the future of our food systems is diverse, interconnected, and resilient, embraces people of all walks of life and sustains the water, plants, and creatures in ways that benefit and work alongside Indigenous Peoples and narratives and ways of knowing and caring for the land.
This farm, like many others, is surrounded by agricultural cultivated land, uncultivated land, Indigenous people and voices from non-settler walks of life. We encourage everyone to build relationship with the land and community that surrounds the place where you will be learning.
Contact Sara (program coordinator) for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joey and his daughters