News/Events - January 2014

Upcoming Grass Fed Beef Conference

Registration Now Open!

February 24th, 2014, 9am - 5pm, Black Creek Conference Centre in Toronto

Join producers, processors, distributors, retailers, chefs, and other stakeholders in the grass fed beef value chain as we share experiences and expertise, build capacity and cohesiveness, and identify opportunities for growing the grass fed beef market in Ontario.

The purpose of this one day conference is to discuss and share ideas regarding the production, marketing, promotion, and sale of grass fed beef in Ontario, with the goal of scaling up the sector to meet market demands.

Register before February 14th for Earlybird Pricing of $50 for the day.

This fee includes a day of engaging sessions, a delicious local lunch, and time to meet and connect with other stakeholders in the grass fed beef value chain.

Visit the Carving Our Niche website for more information about the conference and

For more information, please contact: 

Katie Butterill
Events and Conference Coordinator
Sustain Ontario -- The Alliance for Healthy Food & Farming
t: (519) 635-5031

Hey Farmers, Let's Have a Party!

East Central Ontario New Farmer Mixer

Each year, dozens of new and aspiring farmers are choosing east central Ontario as the destination to embark upon their farming careers. We here at Farms at Work want to celebrate this, by helping students, second careerists and young people to build meaningful connections to our farming communities. And what better way to build community than to throw a party??

Saturday February 8th, 8pm @ The Trend (310 London Street, Peterborough)

Join us for some food and drink, music and dancing, at our first ever new farmer mixer!

If you've been farming for 1 or 10 (or more!) years, or if you'd like help welcome new farmers to our community, heck, even if you've never farmed a day in your life before, this will be an excellent opportunity to make connections with some of the great farmers from around our region! 

So put down the crop plan, throw on your favourite plaid, and join us for a night of fun!

Live music, courtesy of farm bands:

Trylls: a new farm-y folk project out of Peterborough that'll get your boots a-stompin' and hands a-clappin'.

The Sandy Pockets: are a band of rag-tag farmers and foodies that clean up pretty well for a show. They play a distinct blend of old-timey doo-wop and rockabilly, and they know how to get people dancing.

Snacks and canapés courtesy of BE Catering

$5 / Pay What You Can - Doors at 8pm, Music at 9pm

There's no need to register for this one, but to help us plan for numbers, you can tell us you're coming on our Facebook event page, or by emailing Jay

Upcoming Workshop: February 22nd (Save the Date!)

If you've ever wondered about expanding your farm business to include the production and sale of your own seed crops, or are interested in saving your own fruit and vegetable seed to use next year...

Then join us for this full day workshop that'll outline all you need to know to start saving your own fruit and vegetable seed, on a variety of scales!


Saturday February 22, from 10:00am - 3:00pm (registration @ 9:30am)


St. John's Anglican Church, 1758 County Road 10 Cavan, Ontario L0A 1G0 (here's a map!)

Click here for full details
  • Learn about seed saving principles and techniques from experienced trainers

  • Learn how to support pollination for good seed production

  • Participate in small group sessions where your own interests, growing conditions, sites, types of crops, and equipment needs can be explored with knowledgeable group leaders

  • Engage with others in a discussion about the value of local seed exchanges, seed co-ops, seed libraries and seed banks


$25. This includes a copy of Seeds of Diversity Canada's How to Save Your Own Seeds ($15 value) with every ticket!

Pre-registration is required by February 20th (sign up early, as space is limited!). 

To register, go to:

Upcoming Farms at Work Events: Winter 2014

Save the Date(s)! 

Several Farms at Work events and appearances coming up! 

While polar vortices and heaps of snow have us all huddled around the woodstove, Farms at Work has been planning several workshops and conference appearances that'll surely get you geared up for the growing season! See below for some brief details of what we've got lined up, mark your calendars, and stay tuned for more details!   


Guelph Organic Conference – January 30th – February 2nd (University of Guelph)

Join us at the 33rd Annual Guelph Organic Conference where you’ll find us on the basement-level trade show floor, as well as in workshop 4C on the Saturday. Our resident Pollination Biologist, Susan Chan, will be speaking from 1:30pm – 3:00pm on how farmers and permaculturalists can create pollinator habitat on their properties.


East Central Ontario New Farmer Mixer – Saturday February 8th (Peterborough)

What better way to celebrate the new farming communities in our region than to throw a party? Join us for an evening of live music, dancing, great food and drinks at The Trend. Farm bands, Trylls and The Sandy Pockets will carry us dancing into the evening with their blends of folk and rockabilly. $5 / pay what you can. Doors at 8:00pm, music at 9:00pm (couch-surfing options for out-of-towners are currently being investigated and may be available – if you’re interested, please let us know!).

2014 Kawartha Lakes Woodlot Conference & Trade Show – Saturday February 15th (Lindsay)

Come visit our booth and talk to us about the benefits of trees on the farm. Several speakers will be on hand to talk about all things forestry, including best management practices, the economics of woodlots, trees in urban settings, and careers in forestry. Pre-registration is required, tickets are $25 ($15 for students).

Seed Saving 101 – A Workshop for Beginner Seed Savers – Saturday February 22nd (Cavan)

Join us as Dan and Mary Britton (Cottage Gardener), Susan Chan (Farms at Work) and Jill Bishop (Urban Tomato) walk us through the basics of fruit and vegetable seed production on a variety of scales. This full day workshop will outline all you need to know to start saving your own fruit and vegetable seed, whether for personal use or sharing with your community, or as an added enterprise to your farm business model. Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on the considerations that should be made before embarking on a seed saving project. Participants will develop a seed saving action plan with the assistance of facilitators.  Pre-registration is required. $25, BYO-lunch (snacks and refreshments provided).


2014 Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop – Saturday March 1st (Peterborough)

Join us for the 2nd annual Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop at Crestwood Secondary School. Topics of this year’s event will include the benefit of trees on the farm, planting for pollinators, pasture management, and wetland restorations. Speakers will include farmers from across the region who’ve implemented stewardship projects and best management practices on their farms. Industry experts will be on hand for individual project planning sessions in the afternoon, to help you access the various funding and technical assistance that’s available to better steward your land! $27 (hot lunch included). Pre-registration is required.

2014 East Central Farm Show – March 5th & 6th (Lindsay)

This trade show is going into its 34th year and is where the agricultural sector of east central Ontario convenes annually to showcase all the amazing things happening in our farming communities. For new farmers, this is an incredible opportunity to meet and learn from the hundreds of farmers and industry experts that work and grow across our region.

Cashing in Through Grain Marketing – Friday March 21st (Cobourg)

Join us as OMAF business strategists John Bancroft and John Molenhuis walk us through the intricacies of grain marketing and commodity trading. For anyone interested in expanding their business to include the production of grain in Ontario, this crash course will teach you everything you need to know.  $50 (lunch included). Pre-registration is required.

2014 Central Ontario Beekeeping Mentorship Program – 6 days, March – October (City of Kawartha Lakes)

In partnership with COBA, and through the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Farms at Work’s innovative Beekeeping Mentorship Program is designed to provide novice apiarists with the hands-on, practical learning experiences they need in order to succeed at keeping bees for honey production. There are six mentorships available for 2014 (the second year of the program), and mentees will work and learn alongside mentor-beekeeper, Jerry Jerrard (Kawartha Lakes Honey) for six field days between March and October. Following the hallmarks of the beekeeping season, field days will be spent learning time-honoured, practical approaches to colony management and honey/beeswax production, both in the apiary and in the honey house. Also included in the program are several hours of individual telephone support for each of the mentees. Anyone interested in the program this year is encouraged to apply early, as spaces will fill up very quickly. Program costs last year were around the $750 mark, and this year, cost-share funding may be available to individual applicants through GYFP and GF2. 


We'll be sending around further details about all of the above very shortly. In the meantime, you can check out our Community Calendar for all the agricultural events in our region that are coming up this winter. If you've got any questions, please contact Jay Adam.

DIY Bee Nests for Ground-Dwelling Bees

This past fall, Pollination Biologist and Project Manager Susan Chan helped lead a pollinator planting project at Lunar Rhythm Gardens, to help conserve foraging and nesting habitat for essential pollinating insects. Results won't be seen until well into the growing season, but we've got very high hopes that this garden will attract and house more pollinators than ever!

In the meantime, here's Sue describing the importance of bumble bees in the market garden, and explaining how you can construct simple nests for these types of bees using items found around the farm.