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Healthy people come from healthy soils, says Fiddle Foot farmer

April 29, 2016   ·   0 Comments

This Saturday, April 30, the Mono Mulmur Citizens’ Coalition (MC2) will address local and global issues around “protecting and restoring our soil” at a free presentation – “The Real Dirt on Dirt.”

The event, which will take place at Monora Park in Mono, will address the soil situation in Dufferin County, ongoing concerns about fill dirt, and organic farmer Graham Corbett’s perspective on the primacy of our soil.

Corbett, and his partner Amy Ouchterlony, alongside his son Owen, have farmed organically from Fiddle Foot Farm on the 3rd line of Mulmur Township for the past six years.

MC2 member Arnold De Graaff says Mr. Corbett “will give a surprising and intriguing account of what it takes to develop really healthy soil and to grow nutritious produce and meat.”

Graham, who grew up in Aurora, says farming skipped a generation in his family; his grandparents were mixed farmers in Simcoe County. The acreage of Fiddle Foot was owned by the Ouchterlony family as a weekend property, but the couple has “reverted it into a working, productive farm.”

The “mixed biodynamic farm” consists of 5.5 acres of vegetables, pastured pork, pastured chicken, eggs, and cattle. Graham says the “main business is through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and we attend Orangeville and Creemore farmer’s markets, as well as supplying some restaurants in our surrounding areas in Rosemont, Creemore, Orangeville.”

Mr. De Graaff notes MC2 is tackling the topic of soil to address the loss and decline of topsoil and the decline of micro nutrients (due to industrial agriculture), which produce healthy food; global concerns that “directly affect the world’s food supply.”

He says biodynamic agriculture, like that run on Fiddle Foot Farm, is “one important way to maintain the essential nutrient level of our food.”

Mr. Corbett says Fiddle Foot was farmed biodynamically right from the start.

“Biodynamics offers the most holistic approach to creating/designing a functional, productive, and healthy farm,” he says.

It “focuses on the importance of keeping livestock on a farm, in order to produce your own fertility.”

“Diversity of crops and animals is key to the biodynamic philosophy,” he says. “Manures are not simply put back on the land; they need to be composted in a particular manner. The goal is to develop stable humus that, once spread on the soil, carries the necessary vitality and forces to stimulate healthy plant growth.”

The April 30 community meeting on soil is important to Mr. Corbett, h because he will be able to share his perspective that “healthy people come from healthy soils.  The issue of soil health is an issue of human health.”

It should be important to the community, he says, because, “while many people are interested in healthy eating, and healthy farms, few know exactly what that means.”

His presentation will focus on “a way of farming that respects, honours and nourishes the most fundamental aspect of farming: the soil.”

“There is increasing support and awareness for sustainable, healthy alternatives to conventional farming practices, with its use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers,” says Corbett. “This talk will give people a greater understanding and appreciation for ‘healthy soil’.”

Information on Fiddle Foot Farm can be found at www.fiddlefootfarm.com. For more on “The Real Dirt” presentation contact Mono Mulmur Citizens’ Coalition  at  info@monomulmur.com. The free event will take place on Saturday, April 30 from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at Monora Park, 600 Monora Park Drive in Mono.

By Marni Walsh

         

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