The story of organic agriculture, told by those in California who built…
From Seed to Seed
When Terry and Monique left the opera to pursue their true passion—ecological, small-scale farming—their story of community and resilience took center stage. FROM SEED TO SEED follows their young family and a diverse group of farmers in Southern Manitoba, for a season of challenges and rewards.
Scientists are working with these farmers using a blend of ancient traditions and cutting edge science to develop improved methods for growing food ecologically and in a changing climate.
This hopeful story provides a Canadian perspective on a global social movement that regenerates the land, farming, and communities toward a healthier future for us all.
'From Seed to Seed took my breath away. I think everyone who eats should see it! As a professor, I could teach an entire course in regenerative agriculture using nothing more than this film. As a farmer, I know of no documentaries that provide a more honest and clear-cut expose of the emotional territory between hope and despair within which every farmer lives. The farmers exemplify the paradox created when striving toward nature-based farming while being beaten down by a changing and unpredictable climate and enticed by the easy-way-out offered by industrial agriculture.' Gary S. Kleppel, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University at Albany-SUNY, Co-owner, Longfield Farm
'The resounding message delivered by Seed to Seed is optimism - that building a sustainable society is possible - but what makes this film stand out is that this hope is securely tethered to humility...This is not only a film about organic farming, it is also a glimpse into community resilience, and what is required to build our place-based knowledge of land, food production and the natural world.' Dr. Lorelei Hanson, Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator, Environmental Studies, Athabasca University
'From Seed to Seed offers a beautiful portrait about the importance of tradition for creating our future. The film offers us a glimpse at the delicate balance of creating diversity in our genetics, seeds, and communities. For students, the film provides an unbelievable lesson on the value of the small, the local, and the old - not as backwards - but vital and necessary for carving a path forward.' Paul Stock, Associate Professor, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Kansas, Co-Author, New Farmers 2014/2018
'The film gives us an intimate look into the common and individual experiences of farmers...Interspersed among stories about the production of livestock, vegetables, wheat, hemp and flax are sidebars illustrating innovations and techniques - both traditional and new - that farmers use to successfully produce food. Viewers will come away with a deeper appreciation for the skills, knowledge, patience and hard work required to be a farmer and the inevitable tensions that exist in attempting to build a sustainable family business without exploiting themselves in the process.' Sean Clark, Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Berea College, Co-Editor, Fields of Learning: The Student Farm Movement in North America
'Informative, beautifully shot...This gentle, quiet advocacy doc possesses some of the philosophical patience seen in its subjects, who need to follow the seasonal cycles of farming and withstand the vicissitudes of Prairie weather.' Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press
'A gentle but powerful film that really grew on me as I fell deeply into their story.' Matthew Gilbert, Cinema Noesis: Films for Evolving Minds
'This is one of the best documentary films about farming that I have watched.' Dr. Av Singh, Vice-President, Canadian Organic Growers
'With honesty and realism the film explores the risks farmers bear year to year, and provides audiences with a raw and unfiltered view of how their food is produced and the decisions farmers must make in the process...We applaud the effort taken in the film to highlight how farmers can help mitigate the effects of climate change through thoughtful, diversified and regenerative production practices. Seed to Seed rightly illustrates how farmers can be part of the solution to our climate crisis.' Stuart Oke, Youth President, and Katie Ward, President, National Farmers Union of Canada
'This extraordinary film takes us from a smallholding farmed by newcomers to the large holdings common to Manitoba. In so doing, it shows how organic practices can transform the landscape and provide resilience in light of climate change. From Seed to Seed is an exhilarating and successful demonstration of organic practices on both small and large farms.' Lawrence Busch, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Michigan State University, Author, Knowledge for Sale: The Neoliberal Takeover of Higher Education
'From Seed to Seed reveals as much about the meaning of life as the challenges of farming. This compelling documentary centers on a young couple who has chosen farming as a moral, social, and economic way of life-in that order. Their story is juxtaposed with other Manitoba farmers exploring various paths of transition from conventional to organic farming. The story leaves little doubt about whose path is more difficult, but whose path is more fulfilling is a more difficult question. Will farming in the future be a continuing quest for money or a moral expression of purpose and meaning?' John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, Author, Small Farms Are Real Farms: Sustaining People through Agriculture
'From Seed to Seed makes an important contribution to our understanding of how organic farming systems, participatory breeding, and farmer engagement with scientists can contribute to the creation of sustainable and resilient food and farming systems. The film provides an excellent overview of key issues facing farmers in many rural communities today. It will make an excellent addition to academic classes and public education events focused on sustainable and community based food systems.' Albie Miles, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems, University of Hawai'i - West O'ahu
'A beautifully filmed paean to the growing significance and importance of ecological farming. This is a timely and inspiring guide to earth-and-human-centered principles based in adaptable and resilient knowledges, rather than the standardizing science of commodity agriculture. This film will be important for both classroom and community screenings. Watching it involves learning that ecological farming is a real science, especially in the face of climate crisis.' Philip McMichael, Professor of Development Sociology, Cornell University
'A loving and enjoyable encouragement for anyone who cares about food and farming...I liked all the people featured in the film and the emphasis on community. It made me want to move to Canada.' Claire Hope Cummings, Author, Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds
Stieffenhofer, Katharina (film producer)
Stieffenhofer, Katharina (screenwriter)
Stieffenhofer, Katharina (film director)
Du Toit, Jean (film producer)
Director of photography, Bryan Sanders; picture editor, Joh Gurdbeke; music, Jason Staczek, Richard Moody, Anita Lobosch.
Distributor subjectsCanadian Studies; Climate Change/Global Warming; Community; Earth Science; Ecology; Environment; Food And Nutrition; Geography; Global Issues; Natural Resources; Rural Studies; Social Justice; Sociology; Sustainability; Sustainable Agriculture
FROM SEED TO SEED
[00:00:17] - Narrator
My passion for growing healthy food led me to Terry Mierau and Monique Scholte of Cedar Lane farm.
[00:00:24] - Terry
Come by, come
[00:00:25] - Narrator
Through a year of filming their farm and community life from seed to seed, I learned about the daily pleasures, successes, and sometimes overwhelming challenges that their chosen way of life can bring.
During this epic year, I talked with academics and activists and visited farms of various sizes to show that farming without chemicals can produce plenty of good food, on any scale and over time.
The big guy is our boar. This is Gunter, Gunter. I grew up wanting to be a farmer, that’s what I wanted to do. I loved it. I was told that it wasn’t possible. Your dad doesn’t have land. You can’t be a farmer. Getting in wasn’t an option if you weren’t already in, if you couldn’t inherit.
Oh guys, we have to come up with a name yet for him.
And in the meantime, what I realized is you don’t have to inherit land and that you don’t need 1600 or 5000 or 10,000 acres in order to farm. That’s one mentality of what farming is and it’s one kind of farming. Magnus
[00:01:58] Where is Elliot, the one that just rammed through the door? He’s there, he’s got horns. Hey, Elliot!
[00:02:04] And it was in New Brunswick that I was introduced to the idea of direct marketing, farmer’s markets, getting completely away from that commodity style of agriculture that I grew up with that I thought that’s all there was, but just to produce food for someone’s table and to be paid for the food that they want to eat in the same way that the grocery store would have been paid for.
So, I’m Terry Mierau and my family is on this place, Monique, my wife, and our three children, Isabel, and Peter, and Hayne. Besides the five of us, we’ve got about a dozen cattle. Well, Wilhelmina is our Jersey, Colby is the new mom just last week. and we’ve got pigs there’s Tina, the sow, and there’s Molly, the sow, chickens, sheep, and lambs. My co-pilot is Dirk, he’s a Border Collie, he’s kind of my number one.
[00:03:07] Monique and I met in Amsterdam because we both were in a studio program for opera, we were both opera singers. It’s huge part of who we are.
We lived in quite remote in New Brunswick so kind of in the middle of the woods with not a lot of people around us. We’d little kids so we knew we needed some kind of community.
[00:03:41] key: Village of Neubergthal, National Historic Site:
This is still a single street village. There’re still a number of house barns and when I realized they were still house barns down here, I thought the way that we farm, the way that we live, a house barn is actually perfect for us, because of the scale of what we do, because of the variety of what we do, and we farm fairly similar to the way that the Mennonites were farming here 100 years ago
[00:04:09] So, the house barn was a perfect fit, the village was a perfect fit, it’s a Mennonite village, I’m Mennonite. There’re some really interesting people in the village. So, we have here 37 acres in total, a long narrow piece of land. We do a lot of vegetables, small amounts of small grains, potato breeding
[00:04:30] Seedy Saturday, Canadian Mennonite University
For the most part, farmers were selecting their seeds for ever. That’s what we do. I think it’s one of the most important things to come out in the last 10, 15, 20 years, emphasis on farmers taking that responsibility back. The revolution in farmer participatory plant breeding, the revolution is that farmers are plant breeding.
[00:05:00] I think that genetics, whether we’re talking about plant genetics or animal genetics belong to people, to the people. That hasn’t been the direction that things have been going in the last two generations. Those things are starting to become proprietary. Somebody owns those genetics, and I have issue with that.
[00:05:23] narration :
Seed security is a global issue and there are experts all over the world and here in Manitoba. When the famous environmental activist, Vandana Shiva was in town, I asked her about the importance of Farmers’ participating in Plant Breeding and the impact of Climate Change
Key: Vandana Shiva, Indian scholar, environmental activist and anti-globalization author
Farmers have always been the breeders from whom we’ve received the tremendous diversity that is the basis of our food security. Its only in recent times that they’ve been eclipsed as breeders. The system of breeding in response to chemicals is very, very vulnerable to climate change because uniformity has zero resilience.
[00:06:08 Dr. Martin Entz
My name is Martin Entz, I’m a professor in Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. I was always interested in organic agriculture. We started with this place demonstrating to us that this is possible, showing us where we need to be intelligent and we need to design a sustainable organic system and then of course the next step is the varieties, which we’re now working together with farmers on through the participatory program. We have an example of one of the participatory farmers. Its Terry and Monique in Southern Manitoba
I went and was visiting with Martin Entz and Martin said: I think I want to ask you to be our potato breeder. And I said: Martin, we do a little bit of everything, I don’t think we’re who you want for this. And he said: You don’t understand, you’re exactly who we want for this.
The trick is that farmers need access to this diversity and that’s what plant breeding does. You make crosses and you have all these babies and they’re highly diverse. That’s a very different future for agriculture than the one that we’re told, we have to accept. We don’t need to have agriculture just controlled by a few.
[00:07:32] Monique Scholte:
I think we have this right to clean air, growing our own food, seeds and water and those are such basic human rights to me. So, this is my humble, little mini seed library, which hopefully in the years will just get bigger. It’s always that moment of hope for spring to come of things to grow again. I think the Seedy Saturday for me kind of gets me excited to think I’m part of a bigger thing. This is my mini part of the bigger part of what happens out there
March - Seedy Saturday sign
For me, right now, the thought of seeds bringing people together from various places and backgrounds and our sharing those seeds and our sharing the food that those seeds have produced is quite lovely.
[00:08:42] We now have in Altona Syrian families and they came to the Seedy Saturday and they brought some seeds all the way from Syria. I didn’t want to take too many of their seeds because I was so worried; here they make all this effort to bring them. Okay, it’s a type of basil, sure. So, I took some basil, Syrian basil because it looks different to me. I come to seeds from the angle of food. I’m a big foodie. I love people sitting down to eat. I think that’s probably my favorite past time, getting people at my kitchen table, sharing stories of eating.
I think the idea of a village working together can actually speak quite loudly to the future of how important it remains that we live as communities.
Monique and I write a weekly farm update to our food community.
It’s a bit of a crazy week at the farm, just a lot of different things happening. We are pretty excited to announce our milking machine from Wisconsin. Terry has fought of this idea for a long time and he probably will still milk by hand sometimes.
I really love hand milking. It’s gotten to be kind of hard on my hands as my arms was the problem and it does take more time, but the one thing that you don’t get with the machine is this, this, me and her and I do miss that part. Hey, Willie, hi girl. You’re wondering where that machine is.
When we moved from New Brunswick to Manitoba, we came to realize that different breeds do well in different climates. That is why we have started adding the Canadian breed to our Jersey heard.
The Vache Canadienne are a hearty but also more wild heritage breed.
Taking my life into my hands to sit down beside her and milk her. With this breed, I found that they bond way too strong. If I let the calf suck, she will never let me have a drop of milk.
By taking the calf away, I teach the momma that I am actually her calf. So, she will give me the milk and then I give the calf as much as it needs. I’ve probably fed her maybe eight times now, seven times and so she already comes right to me.
While bottle feeding he pushes on her head and scratching her back mimicking what the mother would do
The cows need milking every 12 hours and the milking machine helps to save precious time during the month of April. This is when Terry is busy with opera rehearsals and performaning in Winnipeg. He had a costume fitting yesterday and told me laughingly that they should have just asked him to wear his farm clothes.
It’s wonderful to be able to be part of the arts again and to scratch that side of my brain. I spend a long time studying and training and a long time performing. How I philosophically think about both farming and singing; that balance for me is, 10 minutes ago I was on stage and sang and it’s gone, now. Once the song is over, it’s gone, except for a memory of it, but its, its gone. With farming, everything is kind of forever.
[00:12:40]: What’s, I think, great about being kind of an artist, musician, is that in looking at agriculture you see the artistic side of what’s going on, the cultural side of what’s going on in agriculture, to see it as something that is quite beautiful and malleable. A farm is kind of like a block of clay in that way. Easy, easy, easy. Plan for this year, too large extend, it’s the same as every year, it’s all just a cycle.
We’re on the last legs of hay for cattle, cows, and sheep, always a little worrying if the grass will grow fast enough to feed them soon.
We ate our first spinach salad last night. The reseeded spinach from fall got covered underneath straw and a frost blanket. It made it to spring. Yum!
Hope the weather stays this way and soon we can start sowing some in the garden.
So, there’s all kinds of things in here, but it’s those critters and all of that stuff that’s what ends up feeding the plants. And it’s those earthworms, it’s their excrement and it’s their -- when they die -- it’s their bodies, and the soil has got to be alive. That’s I think where fertility comes from.
This different kind of farming that we’re all involved in, we’ve gotten really good at sort of coming together and doing like conferences together and workshops and I think that’s really, really great. It is not a substitute for a neighbor.
My name is Jonah Langelotz and I am 23 years old, and I am, in some ways, I still struggle with this, and I’d like to be a farmer.
I currently work as part of the Metanoia Farmers Workers Club and I really enjoy the variety of work and all the different opportunities that come with that.
The Metanoia Farmers are a group of students and alumni from Canadian Mennonite University, who grow organic food at CMU farm and on a piece of land in Neubergthal
Oh, we’re getting more manure.
Yeah, but are the sheep in there?
No, Terry just moved them, I think.
[00:15:10]: We just had an ongoing relationship with Terry and Monique Mierau, from when the moved from out East to Manitoba. They’ve always been very welcoming and open with using some of their land. And I was talking with Terry about this, but I’ll be raising some pigs and chickens and he’ll be a big support in this because I don’t have much experience.
So this is home for the next four or five months. Until the middle of October I expect to be here. Finishing up looking after crops, and then also butchering.
[00:15:58] Dr. Ian Mauro
There’s this huge amount of interest amongst young people to engage in the process of growing food, because agriculture is such an exciting space to actually practice the principals of sustainability. That is a very powerful space for people to express their desire to see a better world. It’s so cool to see.
[00:16:29] Dr. Martin Entz
We still have a lot of scientists who are not really buying into anything, but the biotech message, but it’s growing. There is a real momentum in organic agriculture that’s building and it’s coming from different places.
It’s certainly coming from many Canadian citizens who want to buy organic products. Farmers are interested, not all farmers, but one of the messages that I give is that, you know, don’t convert your whole farm to organic, just convert a portion. And that really resonates with farmers. We’ve seen a lot of real success stories like that.
Key: Poplar Grove/Kroeker Farms, 25000 acres, 20% organic, Winkler, Manitoba
[00:17:20] Wayne Rempel
When we first got into organics, we thought, well, we’re going to have to go back 50 years with technology and do it the way grandpa did it, but it turns out that it’s exactly the opposite.
It’s way more sophisticated and technologically advanced than conventional farming is. We had to think ahead and plan ahead what we wanted to do, whereas conventional farming it can easily be reactive. You have got a pest, you spray for it. You have a lack of nutrients, you put some fertilizer on, but we certainly don’t have those options in organics and we have to come up with a solution a year or two before where the problem happens. We’ve hired more agronomists, and we’ve just been blown away by the science of what happens in the soil. The soil here is what’s very important for organic production, and you can see the fibrous roots in here, it’s fantastic.
[00:18:17] Dr. Martin Entz:
You know, it takes away all that tension. It’s not like organic versus conventional. It’s like, well we do both, and we’re actually learning in the organic sector how to deal with problems that we used to think we only needed pesticides for. So, there’s all kinds of progress to be made there.
[00:18:35] Dr. Ian Mauro
You’ve got an incredible amount of diversity in terms of the way in which agriculture is practised. We’ve seen a lot of farmers kind of jump on to this technology treadmill and, you know, getting bigger and faster and not necessarily going anywhere. Oh, wait a second, I’m not making my land more fertile and maybe I’m depleting the nutrients. I want to step off of this treadmill. I want to do something different.
[00:19:11] Andrew Granger
Hi, my name is Andrew Granger, my daughter Hanna, and my partner Jared Puhach. We started, possibly transitioning, and we are going to transition some land starting with 125 acres.
I went to Edmonton in December to the Soil Health Workshop. Health, right, soil health, human health, two huge reasons right there. I mean it just seems like there’s more cancers and disease today as far more rampant.
[00:19:40] Jared Puhach
When Andrew said the main reason why is health, is exactly why. We both have young families. I have three little girls at home. Andrew has two girls at home. We want our farms to outlive us and outlive our kids.
When they came home from the conference I was pumped to help out, because the healthy environment has always been a big thing for me.
[00:20:05] Andrew Granger:
The thought was to have Jared, my partner, with the cattle, come on to the land after we get it sowed down to numerous different species of plants and then have the cattle come through and graze the land and fertilize and hopefully gain back some organic matter, because of the piece of land I’m considering is very poor at best, and it’s pretty much a waste of time conventional farming it.
[00:20:30] Jared Puhach:
This land has been long term cropped for decades, but over the years it’s been slowly, almost like the soil is dying. So, in the middle of June we’re going to take this piece sow it down to a cover crop and it’s going to have about 20 species of different seeds in it.
[00:20:54] Jared Puhach
We’re going to put compost tea on this dirt, that will get the soil reactivated, and then we can move forward and start planting our crop.
[21:00:00] Andrew Granger
Yes, so the compost tea, it’s to help feed the microbial life in the soil because, you know, I want to get away from the synthetic fertilizers, right, I’m trying to, trying my best to come away from all that negative soil application.
Transitioning to organics is a transition of mind-set. Andrew is so motivated to farm more naturally, that he is seeding non-GMO canola. He is taking a risk here, because Kocha, an invasive weed, is a problem on this field and spraying any herbicide will kill both, the weeds and non-GMO canola.
[00:21:41] Andrew Granger:
All our food is from the ground. So, if we can make a better ground to grow the produce on, then the end result would be healthier.
[00:21:51] Jared Puhach
Our neighbor, Ian Grossart, he is an organic producer, and we are kind of following his footsteps on how to transition and move forward.
[00:22:04] Ian Grossart:
My name is Ian Grossart. We’re on our family farm. We’ve been here since 1879. We have an organic grain and cattle farm.
The variety of wheat that we’re planting right now are hard red spring varieties used for making bread. We have our own flour mills. We make our own bread with our own wheat, so then Linda makes a really good sour dough bread.
[00:22:29] Linda Grossart
This is our youngest son Zach. He’s going to university, studying engineering and helps out on the farm in the summer.
[00:22:38] Ian Grossart:
Kind of nice to use our own home grown ingredients, and we know where it comes from, and it is kind of nice to sit down for a meal, and be able to say that most of the things on the table were produced on the farm.
We’re just getting ready to seed. I got the drill set.
I’m just waiting for Zach, he’s just finishing the last pass of cultivating here.
[00:23:01] The big piece of organic farming is trying to improve soil health. We hear from organic farmers across Canada, fertility and weed management are a couple of the biggest issues. Hopefully we’ll set the weeds back enough so the crop will get out of the ground and be able to get ahead of them. So, hopefully, we’ll have a good growing season.
Community Shared Agriculture or CSA – has Members pre-pay for a season to receive their weekly vegetable boxes with produce from the farm.
I first started hearing about CSAs to take people’s money upfront and then say, oh yeah, I know I promise, I’ll get you all kinds of vegetables. At that point, I didn’t feel like I wanted to try and go through four months of the year sleeping every night, knowing I had somebody’s money already spent and now, I have to provide all these vegetables.
Now, with a bit more years of experience or whatever, so this year we decided that we would do a CSA for the first time
This style of farming - because it’s so labor intensive - there’s a lot of people that will say: it’s not possible, physically. When we started, we were so ready to just jump in, the youthfulness of just wanting to do it, and then we got to a point where we’re realizing, okay, this energy that we have isn’t going to last for ever this way. So, it’s one thing to think of making a farm sustainable, but there has to be sustainability for the farmer doing it and I’m so determined, I don’t know why, it’s not the driving force of everything, but I’m so determined to show that it is actually very possible. What we do is all about growing healthy good food, but growing a healthy family, too, just as much.
In a sense, I don’t think I’m different from a scientist, if I do my controlled experiments on my farm, and I have the benefit I’m always here and I always see it. I think we need to give simple farmers more credit for seeing what they see all day.
This is the fourth year with these potatoes from the participatory plant breeding program. Potatoes that we are breeding here on our farm, for our farm. We started off with a really wide range of genetic material and we’ve been narrowing it down. So this is after of course seven months in the storage; very firm still. These are what we call the queens potatoes. So, these are, they’re delicious potato. We’re really happy with it that way.
We’re looking for a potato that boils really well, shape, size, vigor, all of those things. We always break ground - because we don’t have big tractors - we break ground with pigs. So, the pigs tear up turf and work it all through and then the next year, that’s where we plant potatoes. So, one of the things that we will be selecting for, without doing it consciously, is a potato that likes to follow pigs. Their manure has a certain makeup, those are the nutrients that will be most prevalent in that soil. The potatoes that thrive on that those are the ones you’re going to select.
What that does is it gives you a potato that is so specific to this place, to how I do things, how we do things on this farm. So, it’s soil specific, it’s site specific, it’s this bio region, it’s from this place, and it needs pigs before it.
I guess we started with all Berkshire. We have Berkshire sows and then we had a Tamworth boar. So, Tamworth is known as a bacon pig so it’s a very long pig and I really like the crossing. So, in that system, you still need a Berkshire boar every once in a while to get your new sows.
On Sunday morning, we had our friends from Flin Flon come out with a guest, Big Jim. So hopefully the sleep over goes well and we’ll have some piglets after three months, three weeks, and three days. Isn’t that fun? That’s the gestation period for sows.
Tina, Molly, skittish Big Jim, came off the truck and proceeded to run through every fence that he could possibly find. My sense is that he thought he was going to his end, but it wasn’t until he met the three little pigs here, that he realized, oh, this isn’t the end, this is just the beginning. This is going to be good. Hi, Marie. How are you doing girly?
[00:28:13] That’s that fence thing we talked about, you remember that? We had this conversation? The fence, when you touch it, it really hurts. And now you’re making a bad choice, now you’re making a bad choice. I’m telling you it’s going to hurt. Good choice. Walk way, just walk away.
It feels that everything has to happen quick, quick, quick, quick these days. The working days start at 7:00 a.m. and finish around 10:00 p.m. at night. That is just what this time of the year means. No need to feel sorry. We still love it and not all of the seasons are like this, but it is for sure tiring. We sleep well.
I’ve been transplanting like a fiend and watering seems to take fair amount of time as well.
[00:29:07] Dr. Ian Mauro
When I see farmers on the landscape, whoever they are, wherever they come from, whatever practice they are employing, they are heroes to me. The range of skills that farmers have and that is required to actively farm and be a farmer: it’s absolutely inspiring.
It’s been so dry, waiting for rain.
We’re here in Neubergthal at the Metanoia farmers satellite location. Last Saturday, I planted the tomatoes just under 500 of those, which are on drip and so they’re kind of the only crop that - at least right now - that has some kind of irrigation system, I guess.
Then, earlier this week, I mulched all of them with the straw that we have lying around here. The mulch protects the plants from other weeds. It also allows moisture to stay in the soil.
Yeah, the potatoes I was just working on those have all sprung up in the last week and are looking pretty good.
All summer, it’s make hay, make hay, make hay. You got about 10 or 14 days to make enough feed for about eight months of the year. First cut is usually in early July, second early August, and then third cut is any time in September. This is going to be our fifth season of haying in this farm.
The hay always comes ready, whether the weather always gives you the window to make the hay, that’s, that’s another question.
[00:31:17] Dr. Martin Entz:
People sometimes remark, wow, agriculture has been so exciting in your career, and I say, yeah, you know, in my career we’ve gotten rid of 60% of Canadian farmers, like how is that successful. The way agriculture has organized itself we’ve killed communities.
[00:31:33] Dr. Ian Mauro
We’ve lost a tremendous amount of farmers off the landscape. It’s not just people, it’s knowledge that is being lost. If we lose all these mentorships in place for young people to connect with these farmers who are so connected themselves, that is a really missed opportunity.
[00:32:01] Terry :
So chickens don’t need anything, water even, for the first three days they can go. That’s why you can buy chicks mail order and they’ll hatch them somewhere and if they can send them within 48 hours, you can buy chicks in the mail.
All right, you little farts. Dirk come. Come on. Come on. Attaboy. First one is always the easiest. If they’re looking away from you, then you--
And how should I hold it, just like this?
Yeah, but below there because then you can hold on that way. You got a nice grip on them that way. I always wonder: what are these guys thinking right now? Jake’s gone. He just went up into the air and he’s gone.
Happy housewarming. Welcome home.
Hey piggies. You know what that means. That’s right. Hey.
So, this is Philip and this is Miro and Thomas, and then this is Basti, yeah, and Masut and Manuh. They’re pretty cute at least at this point. Hopefully, that won’t be a problem when…when I kill them. You could use a little more of that.
Blessed rain. It has been so dry. On Wednesday, we had a major weeding day and the gardens looked so amazing, better than they had ever been.
[00:34:25] Watch, its taking those trees apart. Holy shit!
It was pretty terrifying, because there was that much rain hitting, and we’ld just hear this crack and this smash of a tree against the ground and then we just feel it boom, the vibration.
Our yard had probably a dozen trees come down, most on the fence lines, one on the house. From then on, it’s been scrambling, running the generator overnight to keep fences, freezers, pumps, milking machine, all of that going.
So, this was a hay wagon like that one that’s with the sows until the plow wind came through. So, it literally just demolished it.
The winds were, well, the strongest I’ve ever seen before. And, yeah, people around the village have been kind of steadily cleaning up. Tough to say how much rain, but about an inch of rain has the plants on edge a little bit, I would say, and pushes us back.
Later in the week, around 3 a.m., I woke up again to that rain that just kept getting stronger and stronger. And then that 'pinging' sound on the roof: Hail. At that point I just wanted to cry.
All those hours tending seedlings, preparing the garden, watering, transplanting, weeding, it’s all at stake. We had never seen this much rain here in one go. By the end of the morning, it was over 3 inches. All the water has now set back the garden two to three weeks. Needless to say, the first box of veggies is a little smaller than hoped for. Of course, there’s always one species on our farm that is happy.
And this is the time where we are waiting for dry spell to start haying.
It’s a beautiful crop. I mean it looks beautiful, it’s big, it’s huge. It’s not a good time to cut, because there’s rain coming, but there’s so much rain coming that I want to get it cut because it’s not about first cut anymore now, it’s actually about getting it off so that we get a good second cut. It will be edible. As every day goes on now, the crop is actually diminishing in nutritional value, because it’s over maturing, but if we don’t take it we don’t get second cut. Second cut only comes once you have first cut.
Yeah, this is in lots of ways a risky life choice or way to get your livelihood farming, with weather and things that are totally out of your control.
Bigger farmers, like they have crop insurance for lots of stuff, right, like Terry and Monique they don’t have crop insurance. So, I think living in a village like this for example is some kind of insurance or having a good network of friends and family, a food community, like Terry and Monique are building. You have people who care about you. They’re not going to let you have a bad year in the same way. Weather patterns are probably going to only get more erratic in the next number of years, which is scary, how do we cope with that? Yeah, well we do it at the community level, because that’s where we have the most control and where we can adapt.
A month ago, today, we seeded a field of canola. It eventually got choked out by the weed Kocha and there’s no chemical that will take it out and it was a bit of a mistake. I knew the field had some Kocha issue, but I didn’t think it would be that big of an issue, turned out it was and we had to destroy it. So, I’m pretty upset. It’s a big loss. But I do need to make money at the end of the day to support my family. So, that was a big decision and a difficult one. So, it’s made me really think about my choice of transitioning. I mean all farming is difficult, but conventional is a lot more forgiving than organic in that you can fix a mistake relatively easily.
I wished I’d set myself up better before I decided to transition, but I was scared to go organic and I think my fear has kind of won in a way.
So, moving forward, we’re mixing a batch of a seed that I’ve never done before in my life, and my daughter Jessica helped me and I even turned to her at one point and I said, I have no idea what I’m doing and she said that’s fine, let’s just do it.
That’s probably the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the confidence that yeah, we could grow crops without putting herbicides and commercial fertilizers on them. With organic, you kind of need more of a longer term strategy.
So what Andrew is trying to do with his cover crop mix is to improve his soil fertility in the same way that Kroeker Farms has been using cover crops successfully in their organic production.
[00:40:10] Wayne Rempel
We’re standing in a field for plow down.
Well, the fava beans and peas of course are legumes, which take nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil. So, it’s extremely important for food supply for the future crops.
A Plow down crop is a diverse mix of plants that are solely grown to feed the soil
Kroeker farms grows 2 - 3 plow down crops in one season.
This large amount of plant biomass needs to be shredded and worked down into the soil each time to prepare a good seed bed for the next plow down crop.
They are working with Martin Entz and his team to develop the best plow down crops to provide maximum fertility, biomass and disease control for their crop rotations.
This biomass also helps to store carbon from the atmosphere in the soil, slowing the progress of Climate Change.
So, our fields don’t just get a green manure plow down, they also get compost spread on it with large spreaders. So, our compost source is largely from cattle manure. That biological activity that’s important in the compost, there’s millions and millions of organisms that work in the soil that promote root health, that convert nutrients that are otherwise not available to make them available, in such a symbiotic relationship in the soil that this manure compost does so well on.
[00:41:41] Dr. Martin Entz
I always like to tell people that organic systems can produce high quality food and lots of it. They can produce that food with fewer greenhouse gas emissions,
but that’s only if attention is paid to the whole system
[00:41:56] Dr. Ian Mauro:
Martin Entz is showing that this stuff works. He’s showing that you can have, you know, organic crop rotations that are just as productive as conventional crop rotations.
He’s shown that it works over time and it works over scale. That is cutting edge world class research happening here in Manitoba that absolutely demonstrates that this stuff is viable and it does work…
[00:42:18] Dr. Martin Entz
Here’s a worm, I got it, I got it.
On June 16th we started getting rain and up until this last week we hadn’t had more than two days without rain for that six weeks, seven weeks in there. We were averaging 3 inches of rain per week. So, since the 16th we’ve had over 22 inches I think now.
We just haven’t been able to weed probably since mid-June, you just can’t get in. The onions still actually look okay. The tomatoes are better than it looks. It’s not as bad as it looks for the tomatoes. Those beds there are just gone and there’s nothing there, barely anything.
but you know like even these trees that we’ve planted along here. In other years, our biggest concern with planting trees is to keep them wet and these are actually yellow because they’re too wet. For trees, it’s crazy.
Well, this is Jonah’s first year, a tough first year to try to manage, you know, it’s 3 inches of rain every week, every week, another 3 inches, another 3 inches and it comes hard, comes fast and he sees the work over the last week just kind of washed away or carrots rotting in the ground, that kind of thing
It looks like there’s a storm of some sort coming so rather than harvesting in really wet soil like I have done too many times already this year, I’m going to try to beat it this time. Yeah, it’s been a tough last couple of weeks, specifically just not feeling like I have a home the Winnebago just hasn’t cut it …and that combined with the mosquitoes, the rain, the moisture, it’s all kind of added up and it’s really finally kind of less, yeah, water logged in the way, I feel kind of heavy from that.
My relationship with Jonah is that I want to really encourage him because, you know, I do think that we need more people farming on this kind of scale. I have a deep affection for him and at the same time I think, maybe I’m encouraging him to do something that is a lifetime of disappointment, I don’t know and I can’t see myself doing anything different.
I’ve very intentionally placed myself here to be here more than just as in 9 to 5 job, and that idea that I wanted to be rooted here has been really good I think, but just because of the season that has presented a lot more challenges in the end… to kind of stick it out and just kind of tough it out a bit, or do I need to kind of give in a little bit to my own needs, which I don’t really do very easily, so I don’t know, we’ll see.
This way of living has a way of weeding out the people who don’t want to do it anyway, and maybe over time he doesn’t and that’s totally okay, but he’ll know that, he’ll know that he -- he hasn’t done any of it half-assed, that’s him, he’s going to try it. I give him a lot of respect for that.
[00:46:06] We lost for sure 1400 bales that just rotted – that just rotted in the swath, because of the really tough weather this season we need to replace a lot of feed now. But when the swather ends up, up to its axles in dirt and you can’t move any more then it’s really hard to cut. Just feels like we’ve just all season been clawing up to where we want to be, and we’d just about get there and then rain comes and knocks it all back again. So, I start to wonder what everybody is going to be eating all winter. Another thunderstorm warning. Let’s see what happens tonight. Get through tonight.
[00:47:53] Mostly, what we’re losing is storage stuff that we would sell through the winter. So, that’s sort of a chunk of our winter income. Monique and I went for a drive last week and started talking contingencies. I don’t see us getting the hay we need now, so I think we’re going to get rid of the sheep this fall. We’ve got the least invested in the sheep in terms of the genetic work that we’ve done, and so we need to just sort of rally around the genetic work that we have been doing with the Canadienne cattle to make sure that we can at least hold what is really dear to us in terms of the genetic work and the handling work that we’ve done with training and making that comfortable with us. What this kind of a season does, is it forces really big issues in the coming decades, and one is adaptability and the other is versatility.
[00:48:58] Dr. Ian Mauro
As an interior continental climate, the Canadian Prairies is actually going to warm up faster than the global average. If we don’t mitigate greenhouse gases, we don’t get our carbon emissions in check, the types of crops that might be grown here will have to change, the cropping practices will have to change, water management will have to change, and this is a huge pressure on these farm systems.
[00:49:23] We haven’t seen the Armageddon the climate change is likely to bring and the trick is: can we get ourselves to get farming ready for that future?
[00:49:36] Dr. Vandana Shiva
So, participatory farmers breeding becomes even more important in times of climate change. First, because evolution in the field is the only way we’ll be able to deal with the changes in the climate. Evolution is on our side.
We have share pickup, and I’m harvesting ahead of time, because I can’t do that all tomorrow morning before I drive to the city with all the vegetables.
Today, Jonah is coming in from the village and he’s bringing in some of the stuff that has been harvested there. Our main goal here is the community supported agriculture, and developing a community around the farm, and connecting really personally with our shares.
[00:50:45] Dr. Ian Mauro
If we’re going to have a healthy food system, we need urban and rural people coming together. We need eaters and producers in common conversation about what kind of food system we want.
The Detroit Darks are a little bit larger, but the Candy Caine ones are bit more fun. You can dig through the pile for whichever bunch you want.
[00:51:06] Sarah Roche
We chose to come here because we like to know where our food comes from. We like fresh organic food and we’re also big supporters of local farmers.
Most places don’t want to buy an onion that looks like this and that is full of soil and a little muddy So, harvest days end up being long and busy and sometimes a little stressful because of it.
About three or three and a half weeks ago, we seeded the transition field, which is just to the South here. So, yeah, it’s coming pretty good. A lot of the seeds germinated and are growing pretty nice right now, but that’s a crap shoot right, you don’t know what Mother Nature is going to do to you. So, you go with what seems logical …hahaha
[00:52:28] Ian Grossart
Come on, Cows, come on, come on, Cows, come on. There you go. Check all the cows and calves to make sure nobody is limping
The sun is shining today and we have 550 bales in the loft. Not a lot, but it’s a start. At this point, it means we are 2000 short give or take. Second cut is still to come, which is the milking hay. Normally, we have had a third cut as well, but that will most likely not happen this year. Normal has a new meaning this year.
Hay needs to dry enough for storage, or it will get mouldy, or worse, catch on fire.
See, that’s testing at 31, that is too wet.
You never count in anything in this business until it’s the bin and you’ve got a market for it.
We took the sample up. It’s testing 14, which for oats is dry. I phoned dad to tell him that keep rolling and he’s already got first hopper full. So, let’s go and dump that. The plan for Grain Man is not to have that combine stop.
And this is my dad Jack, 79 years old, He’s doing all the swathing this year and so he’s a huge part of the program here
[00:55:04] Jack Granger
Back to work.
So, the decision to swath mostly due to the fact that I don’t believe in glyphosate so much, glyphosate is roundup; especially spraying right on the seed at harvest time. When you desiccate you’re spraying it right on the plant when it’s fully mature. So, there’s an awfully good chance some is getting on the seed. I’ve kind of tried to find a market where there’s, glyphosate-free wheat, and it doesn’t exist, and it would be good if it would exist, you know, and reward the guys that are maybe trying to, not spray chemical on their plants at harvest time.
Then, it would make it a lot more viable for sure, yeah, as it is now, my wheat un-desiccated is going into the same pit and same bin as everyone else’s wheat, and I’m not going to say everyone else’s wheat is desiccated, but there’s a majority that is.
But yeah, 3700 acres for one person is plenty, decisions every day like I got to make a decision right now on do I stay in that field or do I move to a different field, move to canola.
If it stays windy, then we could stay combining wheat. I do have to make that decision fairly quickly, because I think the combines are going to be stopped right away so, ha ha ha, and you don’t want combines stopped.
[00:56:49] Neil Young, singing “Harvest Moon”
But there’s a full Moon rising, let’s go dancing in the light, we know where the music’s playing, let’s go out and feel the night
I’m standing here in our organic hemp field and this hemp is probably about two weeks or a week away from harvest. This is used for seed, for hemp hearts. The hemp has been a good crop for us and so we typically grow it after potatoes, but one of the downsides it requires a lot of nutrients. After a hemp crop, it’s time for the restoration year, and so we’ve put on compost, and then we’ll put on two or three green manure crops during the summer, and get it re-established for the next year that’s potatoes again.
The capacity of this harvester is we fill one of these trucks with 35,000 pounds of potatoes, gets filled in less than 5 minutes
We generally had a reasonably good crop in spite of the excess water that we had this summer. Almost all our fields are laser leveled and have a drain tile in them We want to be able to survive 4 inch rain without damage and so that’s what we’ve been working for, for probably 20 years.
There’s some really, really good stuff going on in the village. Good mix of people historically, whose families are from here, sort of original inhabitants, as well as people like us who have moved in. Makes for an interesting group of people.
In 1874 the first Mennonite settlers arrived by boat from Russia. The government provided land to farm in Southern Manitoba. They have preserved a lot of their cultural heritage and community life to this day.
[00:59:26] One of the things that makes Neubergthal quite interesting as people farm, work, commute, raise families, grow old, it’s a community that is alive. A spirit of a community in a sense, and I think that’s really what’s interesting about the village, Neubergthal.
[00:59:48] Dr. Ian Mauro
We bring people together, this idea of a new way forward that’s exciting, that’s fun for all types of people, and it’s a way for us to think about the future in a positive way.
If we create a space in our own minds and in our own hearts that has hope, has joy, has life as a centerpiece and we start to build that future there’s a much higher likelihood that we will find it.
Chickens! We have the first chickens of the season ready to go this week. There’s nothing like a fresh roasted chicken on the weekend.
Yeah, we did 300 this year. We’ll butcher about 100 this week.
So, this is the second batch of the 50 chickens that I bought with Terry and Monique for the season. I have a few I want to give away. I think one to each of my grandmothers. It feels good that I think the life that I have given them and that you’ve given them, Terry, is lot better than what they normally get as a breed.
I think as long as there’s that thought put into it before, during and after I feel pretty good about taking the time and giving it at least a shred of dignity that it for sure deserves in becoming our food.
Butchering for us, actually, is a very personal kind of an act. It’s not something that we take for granted at all in any way.
Wendell Berry is as an important a thinker and writer for people living on the land. What he says about killing animals for food, is that he acknowledges that daily we have to spill the blood of creation, and this is not just about animals, it’s also about plants, but we have to sacrifice in order to feed ourselves, and what he says is: if we do this knowingly, lovingly and respectfully it’s a sacrament.
Well, there it is, Terry’s 44th birthday. Happy Birthday, my handsome hipster farmer. We’re still hoping for a miracle, here, that there will be some hay to come, but the 4.5 inches of rain from last week was way more than the ground could handle. We have decided to sell and butcher the rest of the sheep. Not enough hay. Depending on how it all goes yet, we might have to look at the cattle. Maybe that means more butchering. Maybe some more selling. I have started looking for a job off farm.
[01:03:15] Dr. Ian Mauro
The farmers say: we’re having trouble growing food, or we think we might have trouble growing food in the future, or we think we need these kinds of supports to ensure that we can grow food in a healthy way in the future, that creates an important conversation. That gets us actually creating the change that we need for the future. If we can do that, we will shift agriculture into a very different space that is truly regenerative across large landscapes that will be part of the climate solution, and it will take decades to transition.
[01:03:55] We need incentives to get young people into agriculture. That’s where we start to see that kind of paradigm shift that the landscape is changing, not just biologically, but culturally and these young people are at the forefront of it, and interestingly it’s slightly gendered. There is a lot of young women that are leading this movement.
[01:04:14] Anika Reynar:
Farming is really something that requires all of you, in many ways.
So, here we are today at the CMU. So, this is kind of a bit of an annual, yeah, tradition almost amongst the group at CMU Farm, the Metanoia farmers, where there has been a fall festival, kind of a celebration of harvest and kind of community here at CMU.
Is this all together already, or is this…?
That’s two, so whichever one you want.
This is a wheat field from the fall. We’re spraying post-harvest glyphosate, which is Roundup. We are taking care of the weed pressure that is in the field after the harvest. There’s been a lot of studies done on glyphosate. It’s half-life in the soil is 19 years, and it’s not good for the soil. We are interrupting microbial life, bacteria, and fungus and at the same time we are getting the weed killed. There’s residue issues in the soil and in the plants and then we eat that, right. I mean that’s where our food comes from. And there has also been studies that are showing up glyphosate in people’s urine. I guess, financially it makes more sense. It’s not great. I wish I didn’t have to use it. I wish there was a different, easier way, how’s that, Ha, I wish there was such a thing. That’s -- yeah, I don’t want much. I’m not asking for too much. Ha, ha, ha
Well, Saturday, Sunday, we had about an inch and a half of rain, and I’ve never seen… it’s discolored flax and usually flax weathers pretty well, but anyway, we’ ll -- we’re just doing a sample and we will -- if it’s dry we will get it off and then we will deal with it later.
[01:06:21] Doug Grossart:
Yeah, my name is Doug Grossart. I’m Ian’s dad and I guess Ian is the fourth generation now that’s operated this farm and -- which my grandfather started back in 1879. I always find it rather interesting that there is a lot of talk about either being organic or conventional and, of course, you know, when I was a kid and probably up to maybe 1940 then organic was the conventional, because there was no such thing as chemical herbicides or chemical fertilizers.
[01:06:56] During the war, the military developed a lot of chemicals, and so one of them was 2,4-D, and of course then later on we found out that it had some rather bad side effects to -- for health and so on. So, kind of makes you wonder what are we doing now that five years from now somebody is going to say “Oh, oh, we have got a problem here.”
[01:07:20] Linda Grossart:
I’m harvesting our participatory plant breeding plots. We have three different varieties of wheat. So, in order for the University of Manitoba to use the seed from this plot in studies, I’m looking for ones that have a lot of kernels in the stands, that seem to have stood well even despite the weather and maybe select a new variety that’s going to grow well, both organically and in this climate.
If I kind of hand thresh a little bit here and I show you some of the seed, it just looks like a nice, healthy wheat seed.
So if they were to choose one of these varieties to breed further, eventually, they’ll come up with a name for them. So, you never know, maybe one day we’ll have a wheat called Howpark.
[01:08:20] Michelle Carkner
I am the coordinator for the participatory plant breeding program here at the University of Manitoba, and the goal of the program is to empower farmers to breed their own varieties of wheat, oat or potato on their own organic farms so that they end up with variety that works specifically for their system. So, this is Terry Mierau’s populations. So, he’s done three years of selection. He can either choose to keep selecting next year or he can choose to bulk up the population and actually use it in his farming system.
We did three varieties of wheat and three of oats. In terms of making the selections, a hard-hard weather year like this actually makes the selection process a fair bit simpler. If it can survive with 25 inches of rain in a two-month period then, you know, water stress isn’t going to be an issue
The goal of the program is so that you end up with a population that is diverse enough.
I guess the goal of my farming system would be to come up with a variety that has enough variability and variation in it that it can handle variation in climate as things get a 25 inch summer of rain compared two… and then next year maybe it’s 3 inches of rain in the summer.
[01:09:52] So, look -- if you look at this one, this is one plant, really weak, this is one plant. So, what I have so far from this population, this is the biggest one in here that would have been the smallest of what I had been selecting for.
[01:10:17] This is Gunter, so Gunter is a boar, he’s never done anything mean to me, but he’s a boar - at the point, where you think he’s going to do something mean, that’s when he’s like well, no, actually, I really just want to you just scratch me.
This is Molly. Can we see your babies, Molly? Sure, sure. Well, there’s a couple of dead ones here, but those aren’t the ones. The plan this summer was to get some new pure bred Berkshire sows so big Jim came for summer camp here. All three sows had their piglets and then we had a biiiig storm, three inches in a weekend again and I went out to do chores and the whole litter had drowned overnight
Call your babies, girl.
Only 3 piglets survived when there should have been at least 18 between the 3 sows. This season has been stressful for everyone.
[01:11:17] I love working with pure breed stock, to go for what’s most beautiful and by beautiful, I often also mean in a more utilitarian sense. Beautiful for me is a cow that stands quietly when she milks. And it doesn’t make any difference to me whether I am breeding for a potato or wheat or oat or for a cow, it has to be for this place, for me, I am not breeding for anyone but for myself, I think that’s what agri-culture is. It just can’t be separated from breeding. The moment we put that into someone else’s hands, I think we have failed.
[00:11:55] Dr. Vandana Shiva
The options to continue breeding into the future are too important for the entire planet and for those who grow food, but also those who eat food and it is time for eaters, which means every citizen, to throw their weight behind farmers’ rights, behind farmers’ right to breed, behind the seed’s right to evolve.
I will not be here next year, at least not full-time here farming I mean I’m sure I’ll be back and forth visiting Terry and Monique and I don’t know, maybe helping out here, but I’ve actually -- yeah, I have withdrawn from the co-op for the coming year. After this season, I do feel kind of tired and in need of a break.
[01:13:00] Terry came and helped me move my pigs back to his place. I had talked to Terry awhile ago about him looking after them for me for the next month and a half until they are up to weight and then I’ll come back and butcher with him.
So, this is kind of my last full day in the village I feel like a part of me has already left, but also a part of me will always be here I think, too.
[01:13:28] There’re couple of moments yesterday when -- yeah, when I almost came to tears, thinking about that. Monique invited me over for supper so I’ll go, hang out with their family, which will be nice, a good way to kind of cap this off.
Hmm, I’m eating an apple to talk about potatoes. Look at these babies. Number five. So, this, this is what potato breeding is all about. So, I carried five populations through, which was more than I should have. In digging all the other ones we were fighting so many weeds in the row. As soon as we got to population five, the row was clear, there were a very few weeds, because the plants were so vigorous that they beat the weeds, much easier digging. But the beauty of this population is that we’re really getting to, a really nice consistency of shape, one,
[01:14:31] They’re all very nice size. There’s still a fair amount of genetic diversity in here, which from a commercial breeding point of view is a bad thing, from a small farm point of -- breeding point of view, I think is a really good thing because what we’ve learnt in the last four years is no summer is the same as the one before. The summers are -- the growing seasons are all different. You need a little bit of genetic diversity so that you still get good years and okay years in bad years. This is as a bad a potato growing year as we could -- I think expect, hopefully, for a very long time.
It feels like it’s full circle. They started here and well, we always knew they would end here --
Jonah: In some way.
Terry: In some way – I love you. I love pigs, pigs are my favorite.
[01:15:44] Ian Grossart
We’ve got a semi here to load some organic oats and we’re doing a pre-load inspection to make sure there’s no GMO canola or anything that would compromise organic integrity.
We’re happy these oats met the specks for Grain Millers
[01:16:05] Scott Shiels
Grain Millers has been able to grow to be the largest organic oat milling company in the world. We implemented a policy that basically states that we will not buy any oats, conventional oats that have been sprayed with glyphosate pre-harvest. Policy stems from milling functionality issues, but with the way the world’s going now and public perception on glyphosate, timing is probably pretty good. We anticipate that the other major milling companies such as Quaker and General Mills will follow suit, and that it won’t be too long and we’re going to see it in all commodities, not just oats.
With so much waterlogging, the soil compaction, this is what happens to so many carrots, that’s crazy, that’s not what carrots are supposed to do. They’re just short and stubby and then when you look from the top, you think oh, that would be a nice looking carrot.
[01:17:09] We have such a skimpy summer that every week I would write a little note to go with the boxes, sort of explaining why certain things didn’t work and kind of showing that there’s always something that’s there that it even becomes more tasty knowing that there’s not so much of it, some things did well and now that I can see that it’s all coming in a kind of give out a double box, quite a few potatoes, onions, garlic and I kind of thought it was -- I love playing with words so I called it the bounty box instead of the weekly vegetable box for the CSA that’s I’ll take in tomorrow.
Good to be in the city for a couple of hours, see a bunch of people and connect with people getting food from us and all that, which is nice. Then, after about five hours in the city, it’s time to get back out.
Michelle McNeill: Hi, Terry.
Terry: How are you doing?
Michelle: I am good. How are you?
I guess I’ve always been a very health-conscious person. I really wanted to know the people that grew my food, because we all play a significant role in creating a better world. I like to joke around about we have our own farmer and we actually refer to our farmer often in the family. Where -- so that we have to have our bin ready because our farmer is coming today, and the kids know Terry and Monique and have met them when they come to drop off our food and it’s just such a beautiful connection.
Monique started a job as an educational assistant at the same school where the kids are. The fact that we have off farm work is a disappointment. We have built our life around our home and farm and we have shed blood, sweat, and tears to do it for over a decade. There have been many sacrifices as well as boundless joy. So, I am tending a fire and cleaning up more fallen and dead trees when I should be trying for one more cut of hay or working on drainage ditching, but it is still way too wet for any of those things, so instead I am burning.
[01:20:10] I was about to start the chain saw and I noticed again how my shoulder is aching. I tore something in it in the spring. I got to worrying about it and then I had the thought just to throw that worry on the big fire in front of me, throw it on the fire, let it burn away, just let it go. It felt really good so I burnt some other things too. Couldn’t make hay this year, burnt it. Half the potatoes drown and rotted, burnt it. All the cultivating, seeding, and transplanting that amounted to nothing, burnt it. Have to sell cattle, have to get rid of the sheep and on and on, burnt it all. Many have asked us this fall if they can help us off in the blow of a terrible season.
[01:21:01] Many have graciously expressed concern for our finances. Some have worried about our state of mind. We are okay and we will be okay. We will adapt and adjust and likely come out that much stronger.
It seems pretty obvious on a farm to be thankful at the end of the season for whatever we received in food. However little.
[01:22:12] Terry :
Overall, I would rather characterize farming as a constant play between hope and despair and in the despair, you have to be able to step away from it for a minute and see that it has shown you something that can give you hope. Seeding is an amazing and beautifully hopeful thing to do.
[01:22:47] Raven: Just, like really short…
Jonah: Well, ok, oh, boy, but how do I say all that?
Raven: Just say less things: Marriage, moving, farming
Jonah: In the fall Raven and I are planning to get married, and after that in a year or 2 moving down to Altona. Her dad farms conventionally as a grain farmer, and then he’s kind of invited me into that, to farm with him, and then look into what transitioning the farm might be from some conventional land to organics …Was that better?
Raven: That was good
Jonah: ...oh, boy
[01:23:28] Monique: So, you still want to keep farming?
Terry: Still am farming, June 20th , potatoes are looking great, population # 5, still working on the name. Um, vegetables are growing, June 20th, already cut of hay in the loft in the barn, cows had 3 heifers out of 4 calves, everybody is eating, lots of grass right now, good soil moisture. Its Glory Land.
Monique: Farmer spoke
Terry: said something….sit down to long, I just kinda want to roll over in the dirt and lay down for a bit …5 more days til Sunday when we can actually do this without feeling guilty…Ah, yah
Distributor: Bullfrog Films
Length: 87 minutes
Grade: 7 - 12, College, Adults
Closed Captioning: Available
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