small-scale, ecological farming
At Littlefoot Community Project's collaborative farm in Maryhill, Ontario, we strive to build a relationship with the Land through mindful growing practices and by fostering awareness of the interconnections between our human and more-than-human kin. Our growing practices are aimed at nourishing the soils, sequestering carbon, and building thriving habitats, all while feeding our local community.
At our (almost) 1/4 acre farm, we use the following practices:
We are committed to engaging in soil building practices, which is the foundation to sustainable agriculture and a healthy planet. We add compost and manures (sometimes from the livestock on site!) to our soils and fertilize with organic products or vermicompost tea. Crop rotations also help to improve fertility, contribute to soil health, and optimize nutrient availability for plants over the years.
Further, we utilize techniques like heavy mulching, tarps, and cover crops to suppress weeds and add nutrition, while minimizing the need for tillage. Studies show that reducing tillage helps to improve soil structure and water infiltration, increase organic matter retention, reduce erosion, and maintain healthy environments for soil microorganisms!
We source seeds from mindful businesses that prioritize quality, environmental responsibility, and community health. We always plant non-GMO seeds, many of which are organic certified as well. Moreover, we aim to continuously support seed companies owned by Black, Indigenous, and racialized folx that are committed to generational healing, cultural preservation, and carrying forward traditional knowledge. Over the years, an important endeavour for Vanessa has been to grow more native plants and significant Asian heritage crops.
Our greenhouse/shed structure was built with a heat sensitive fan that switches on when temperatures are hot, and heat sensitive vent openers that open and close according to temperature conditions. The drip irrigation system that waters our farm has also been hooked up to a programmable timer that runs on solar power. Thank you sun!
Pollinators and Polyculture
Anyone who has visited our farm knows that things look a little wild! Although we admittedly let the weeding get away from us, this is mostly intentional. On our farm, we integrate numerous crops in a single bed, prioritizing biodiversity and companion planting techniques. Delicious medicines like chamomile and bergamot can be found interspersed amongst crops, and our crops themselves are planted in ways that promote symbiotic relationships, whether in terms of physical protection, natural pest management, or even improving taste! We also plant and maintain many plants that support native pollinators and other beneficial organisms in our ecosystem.
We are deeply humbled to be growing on Stone Meadow Farm, in Maryhill, ON, and operating our work in Kitchener, ON, on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Attiwonderonk, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. We exist on Block 2 of the Haldimand Tract, which is 6 miles on either side of the Grand River granted to the Six Nations of the Grand River for allying with the British during the American Revolution.
Our Land-based work urges us to be reflexive in all that we do, to unpack our privileges, listen, invite criticisms, and engage in the healing of relations with and upon this Earth we call home