Welcome! Field’s Farmstead is located in Cavan, Ontario (In Canada), between Peterborough and Millbrook, just off highway 115. The farm was started in 2020 by JP Field, with much help from his family and friends.
Our farm is guided by one principle: By mimicking the processes of Nature, we can simultaneously heal the Earth, while producing higher quality, more nutrient-rich foods, with less work and cost. How do we do it?
We use absolutely no pesticides of any kind, whether they are considered “organic” or not. This is for the health of the food we grow, and also for the health of the soil. Pesticides are meant to destroy over-populations of a certain bug or weed in the garden, whereas we prefer to take the preventative approach, and maintain as balanced an ecosystem as possible, so that an over-population of pests is unlikely to occur in the first place.
In industrial farming, pesticides are used on a regular basis. Industrial farms are highly unbalanced ecosystems, and pest over-populations are essentially a guarantee. This causes a downward spiral in soil health and food quality, which would eventually lead to the earth becoming a big, lifeless, desert.
Some farmers use organic pesticides very sparingly, only as a last resort. We respect this approach, and have nothing bad to say about it. But we just prefer not to do that ourselves.
Polycultures and Companion Planting
Planting many different kinds of plants together allows for the strengths and weaknesses of each to balance each other out in the ecosystem. This is what helps improve the soil naturally, and bugs and pest populations are maintained in balance.
It also means we can fit more plants in the same space, because we can, for example, grow corn, beans, and squash, all together, or grow onions in-between lettuce plants. Monoculture farming, where you have fields of only one crop, may seem more productive. But really, it only serves to allow for easy tractor efficiency, and has long-term consequences for soil health and productivity.
Using clever and holistic strategies, polyculture planting can out-class monoculture in quality and efficiency. We are constantly developing these kinds of strategies here.
Tilling is extremely hard on the soil. Think of plants as living solar panels, and the soil as a living battery. When you till, you are essentially shredding up a living battery, which releases a bunch of stored energy immediately, but also hurts your ability to store more energy later on. Your plants may grow more quickly right away, but your long-term prospects of growing healthy plants is worse.
We use cover crops, composting, and deep mulching, as our no-till strategies. This is essentially like making more solar panels and making more batteries all the time, and avoiding the temptation to shred up the batteries that you have for quick bursts of energy. We are leveraging the latent power of nature to capture and store solar and life energy, instead of tilling up land with a tractor and quickly burning through many years of stored energy every season.
Plants and Animals Integrated
We like to have both plants and animals working together. This is what nature intended, and it works extremely well. There is a lot of pressure against industrial animal agriculture, and I am very happy to see that. Factory farming is extremely cruel and destructive. Imagine if a human were treated the way an animal is treated in a factory farm – it would be considered torture and slavery.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many farmers are learning that, by designing farm systems where animals can be themselves, and express their true instincts, we can work together, harmoniously. The plant and animal kingdoms are great friends, and they help each other out in countless ways.
For example, plants breathe in carbon and breathe out oxygen. Animals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon. This may seem obvious, but did you know that just having plants and animals closer together can improve the health and growth of both, just through this effect?
Another example is that animals eat plants, and turn it into compost. Sure, you can compost without animals, or so it may seem. Even when you don’t have large animals turning plants into compost, you always have small animals, as well as fungi, doing that work. Each different kind of animal adds different micro-organisms to the resulting compost, so it benefits the quality to have many different kinds of animals working together. Chickens, cows, rabbits, worms, fungi, nematodes, pigs, etc. all can and should work together to make the best compost.
Animals actually have fun making compost. If their job on the farm is to make compost, then they are happy, and expressing their instincts. For example, a chicken in nature wants to scratch the ground to look for bugs and seeds to eat. It also wants to poop all over the place, which is normally quite a mess for the farmer. But when the chickens have a compost pile to work on, their desire to scratch, peck, and poop are turned into an asset for the farmer – a win-win! Chickens want to pick, one by one, all the bugs and weed seeds, out of the compost pile. This is a farmer’s dream-come-true! Meanwhile they’re adding their manure, aerating the pile, and eating more of their natural diet, and less grain – A perfect example of nature in harmony.
Always In Motion
Nature is always changing, and so are we! Our strategies are not perfect. They are always improving, adapting, flowing – our farm is itself a living system!
The ideals we strive for are grand, and we make no claim to achieve them in full. But we are always moving closer. If you have any thoughts or ideas about our farm, how we farm, our philosophy, or whatever, feel free to write us an email.