Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Young Farmers and Organic Agriculture

Young Farmers and Organic Agriculture

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

I was in Nova Scotia on Sunday visiting farmers who are starting their own farm then on Monday I spoke at a Beginning Farmer Symposium organized by the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN).  It was good to see so many young people interested in and starting their own farms. 

Organic agriculture offers young people a great opportunity.  While it can be more labor intensive, it does allow for higher returns off a given piece of land, unique products, and a safe environment for raising a young family.  There is another major hidden benefit.  We are seeing a rising number of older people who own land but are not in a position to farm it.  Many of these people will gladly lend or rent for a small fee to young farmers who will work the land without using chemicals.  If land is not worked, it will grow up in bushes and lose value.   With the increased awareness of chemicals in the environment, organic farming offers peace of mind for the landowner and opportunity for the farmer with limited resources - a win win situation all around. 

 
I was asked to speak about Full Circle Farming - Livestock on the farm.  Livestock create some really great synergies on the farm.  This photo to the right shows the hens last summer on a piece of ground near the barn.  This season we are growing sweet corn on the same piece of ground.  The fertility left behind by the chickens has helped to give us one of our best sweet corn crops yet.
 
After we are done picking the good ears of corn, we plan to either put the pigs or the cows into the patch to eat up the stalks and prepare the land for next year's residents.  Everything has a place and a purpose and benefits the whole.
 
This year, we are putting the chickens in another patch of ground that needs fertility.  We planted clover as a nitrogen fixing cover crop and then the chickens eat the clover.  The clover is good feed and both the chickens and the clover are adding fertility to the field.  The house and fence will be moved to the right across the field.

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