On a quiet little farm near Neustadt, amid the gentle rustle of sheep and cluck of chickens, a buzz is in the air.
Green Being Farm, owned and operated by Nathan Carey and Tarrah Young, has earned the pleasant distinction of becoming the first certified “Bee Friendly Farm” in Grey-Bruce, and only the third such farm certified in Canada.
The farm produces a colourful array of vegetables for its community supported agriculture (CSA) program, supplying members with organically grown produce all winter long.
Diversity is the strength of the operation, with winter crops such as carrots, beets, onions and turnips filling a root cellar that was once a backyard swimming pool. There is fresh spinach in the greenhouse, and a selection of tasty mushrooms.
“It tastes better than anything else you can get,” Tarrah Young said of the products, adding that customers are often shocked at just how good food can taste. “To be a CSA farm you have to love food and then extend that to your members, and see how much they love it.”
They also raise pastured animals: such as poultry, lamb and pigs; outdoors and always with the highest regard for their needs and the environment. The farm name, Green Being, reflects the owners’ values; allowing all animals to BE the creatures they are meant to be, in a positive and stress-free environment
Fed only high quality certified organic grain with complete access to green forages, the menagerie includes Katahdin sheep, Berkshire pigs, heritage hens, meat birds and turkeys.
Ask anyone who has enjoyed the nutrient-dense vegetables or succulent, flavourful meats of Green Being Farm, and the answer is right there on the plate. Sunshine and green grass means Vitamin D and Omega 3. The menu is packed with a taste, flavour and vitality that no supermarket shelf can match.
“The most important piece of farming is the soil,” contends Young. “Healthy soil means healthy crops, and that means healthy people.”
Another benefit of a CSA program is the connection a member has with the farmer. Green Being Farm furthers that bond with a regular newsletter and farm visits. It all helps to bridge a growing chasm between the consumer and producer.
“Every eater is a stakeholder in the food system,” said Young. “People can take an active and positive role in what they are eating.”
As a Bee Friendly Farm, Green Being makes sure there are a diversity of flowering forage species available all season long; as well as water, so that pollinators are never without food or drink. As a result, the farm has always had wild hives on it, and now supports a diversity of bee species and hives.
“Green Being Farm is doing its part to nourish bees, so they in turn can nourish us,” said Young. “We completely depend on them and other pollinators for our very survival. If their colonies collapse, we are not far behind. Farmers have an important role to play, literally, in our survival. Everyone does.”
The Bee Friendly Farming certification program is dedicated to the conservation and use of non-hybrid plants of Canadian significance. Its goal is to increase public awareness, recognize producers who provide forage for honeybees and other pollinators, and encourage consumers to support these farms.
Nathan Carey and Tarrah Young have operated Green Being Farm near Neustadt for the past four years. For more information, check out the farm’s website at www.greenbeingfarm.ca.