News/Events - September 2015

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Maple Syrup Mentorship Program

Register now for the only hands-on, multi-day maple training opportunity in the province! 

Participants in the new FAW Maple Syrup Mentorship receive over 30 hours of instruction from mentors who have been producing maple products for close to 50 years. The curriculum-based program will cover aspects of sugar bush management with an emphasis on forest health; all steps in the production cycle, from sap collection to syrup and value-added maple production; as well as the economics and marketing involved in running a successful maple business in Ontario.

The program is offered over five field days between October 2015 and May 2016, which will be held at the Mentors' farm near Campbellford. In addition to hands-on instruction, participants also receive one-on-one support from their mentors between field days, for those times when questions arise, or when they run into problems on their own farms. And in order to help mentees forge new connections with the community of maple producers, mentees will also have the opportunity to attend an OMSPA Info Day in late January, where they will gain valuable exposure to the maple industry in Ontario.

So if you're a complete beginner who's wondering how best to start out in the maple business, or if you've been producing maple products for a while now and are looking to improve efficiencies and grow your business, then this new program is meant for you! 

For all the nitty gritty, head on over to the Maple Syrup Mentorship pages, or give us a call at (705) 743-7671.

Local Food Month: Week Four

Local Food Month Peterborough

What better way to mark the end of summer than by celebrating the abundance of local food available from the amazing farmers in Peterborough County? Here are a couple of fabulous opportunities happening this week to round out the 2015 Local Food Month:

Chick-A-Biddy Acres

Circle Organic Farm

For more information on Local Food Month please visit

Additional Info Sessions on New Neonic Regulatory Requirements

Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Rural Affairs

As of July 1, 2015, new requirements for buying and using neonicotinoid-treated corn and/or soybean seed are being phased in to allow growers to adapt to new requirements.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) held several regional information sessions in late August and early September 2015 to ensure stakeholders are aware and understand the new regulatory requirements.

OMAFRA will holding an additional teleconference/webinar on Friday September 18, 2015 from 7pm - 9pm for farmers and stakeholders to learn about the new requirements.

To reserve your space, head on over to the OMAFRA registration page, or contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300, or

We're Hiring!

Farms at Work is currently accepting applications for an Agriculture and Stewardship Technician. This position is for 4 days/week and will run from October 2015 to March 2016 (with possibility of extension). 

Position Overview

The successful applicant will gain valuable experience working in a non-profit environment, with the support of experienced sector and technical knowledge-holders. He or she will make valuable contacts and benefit from comprehensive exposure to the farming sector in east central Ontario over a period of six months.

Anticipated Start Date: October 5, 2015 to March 31, 2016
Location: Peterborough, Ontario
Salary: $450/week for 30 hours a week, plus vacation pay

Key Responsibility Areas

  • Coordinate farm stewardship activities with a range of regional partners
  • Assist with planning annual stewardship event
  • Perform outreach to a wide farmer base using web and social media
  • Organize workshops and events for farmers

Qualifications Required

Please note that in order to meet funder requirements for this position, applicants must be 29 years of age or under, and a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

In addition, the successful applicant will be a recent graduate (within 3 years) of a program in ecological restoration, environmental sciences, conservation management and/or agriculture. A background and interest in agriculture is a distinct asset.

Other required qualifications:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • A positive, outgoing approach to meeting new people
  • The ability to multi-task and organize time effectively 
  • Proficiency with social media 
  • Access to a car and a valid driver’s license
  • Ability to work occasional evenings or weekends

How to Apply

Together with your resume, please forward a cover letter, which includes your responses to the following questions:

  1. How did you hear about this position?
  2. What interests you most about this position?
  3. Based on our requirements, why are you a strong candidate?
  4. Briefly tell us about your current/most recent job.  Why are you looking for a change?
  5. Please confirm that you are 29 years of age or under, and a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

Please send your resume and cover letter with your responses to the above questions to with ‘Farms at Work Stewardship’ in the subject heading. Applications will be accepted until 5PM on Tuesday, September 25. Applicants invited for an interview will be contacted by September 29. 

Pollinator Habitat on Working Farms

Pollinator Habitat Field Day

In spite of the heat, we had a wonderful crew of volunteers join us for Pollinator Habitat Field Day this past Wednesday.

Led by pollination biologist Susan Chan, the group loaded onto a bus and traveled to three farms around the Lakefield and Buckhorn areas, to take a look a some established pollinator habitat planting projects, and to hear about the farmers' motivations for carrying out this type of conservation work on their properties. 

Right from the get-go, the group learned that there are a wide range of reasons to protect pollinator habitat on working farms. 

Over at Rocky Lane Farm, sheep breeders Bob and Gail Irvine explained that their habitat restoration project (which involved the installation of a duck pair pond on a wet field) provided them the functional benefit of drier pasture earlier in the spring, and that by re-naturalizing the area with pollinator-friendly plants, the Irvines also now have a comfortable spot for recreation. 

Arriving at Buckhorn Berry Farm, we heard all about fruit and vegetable farmer Sam McLean's complex crop rotation system, which incorporates field margins and hedgerows that are utilized as natural buffers for spray drift, and also provide excellent habitat for pollinators near the pollen and nectar sources of the McLean's pumpkin, squash and corn fields.

And when we arrived at Leahy Farm, beef farmer Bernard Leahy explained the important role that pollinators play in the health of his pastures and his hay crops. To help him improve the numbers of healthy pollinator populations on his new farm, the group lent hands and shovels to help plant native trees, shrubs and DIY bee nests around the edges of one of his pastures. To see a drawing of the planting plan, click here.

While projects such as these are relatively simple to implement, they do require some technical expertise and funding to be carried out properly, which is why groups like the Kawartha Farm Stewardship Collaborative are such an invaluable resource to farmers. If you are interested in learning more about how the KFSC might be able to help you with pollinator plantings on your own farm, please let us know.  

TD Friends of the Environment Fund  
Ontario Trillium Foundation
We would like to thank the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their generous support of this project.