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Permaculture is short for 'Permanent Agriculture' and it is a style of agriculture that recognizes the farm as an ecosystem. In nature the relationships and interactions between plants and animals in a landscape form complex self sustaining systems. A farm can be designed so that crops and livestock similarly create an ecosystem and productivity is generated through the interactions and relationships that they form. Permaculture is the creation of an ecosystem that supports agriculture, rather than the conventional system where agriculture dominates natural ecology. People like Bill Mollison have worked to create a framework of concepts that can be used to establish a permaculture system. For detailed information go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture.
Why is grass fed beef not as cheap as what's at the big box grocery stores?
There are many reasons, but they all have to do with time and space. Firstly, compared to cows raised in a barn and fed grain, grass fed cows grow slower when raised outdoors because the grass they eat is less calorie dense and they expend more energy to forage for it. This means that it takes more time to raise a cow on grass to market weight, which means more work and expense for the farmer. Secondly, raising cows on pasture requires lots of land for the animals to graze, and land is very expensive. But if you keep your animals in a barn and use the land to grow grain to feed the animals rather than grass, than you can feed more animals with the same amount of land.
Timberline Farm's land management is guided in part by the Canadian Organic Production Systems Standards (For more information about go to http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/organic/certification.htm), however, due to the expense and certain limitations involved, the farm is not certified officially as organic.
In our food production system we do not use pesticides of any sort. However, parts of the farm have been colonized by certain invasive plant species such as garlic mustard, European buckthorn and rhizominous thistles. It is important for our native wildlife to eliminate these species. For the most part these invasive plants are controlled with a lot of elbow grease but on occasion when that fails they are sprayed with an herbicide.
Antibiotics are not a standard part of our livestock production system. However, to avoid the suffering of our animals, if an animal requires the use of antibiotics to treat an illness or affliction then it is done. For example, in 2016, my bull had an eye infection that required medical intervention and an injection of antibiotics was administered to remedy the infection that could potentially have blinded him. Instances like this are rare and in the history of Timberline farm antibiotics have only ever been used on 5 cows and only one was a young steer that was butchered for food and that only happened over a year after it had been treated with a single dose, the others are part of the breeding herd and are still here at the farm, happy and healthy.
Absolutely! If you would like to visit Timberline Farm to see first hand how the farm is managed go to the 'Contact' page and fill out the contact form with your request, or you can either call or email Timberline Farm, and a visit can be arranged with Farmer Jared.
Yes, one of the fundamental forces that drives Timberline Farm is the free sharing of information. Feel free to call or email with your questions. Go to the 'contact' page to see how you can get in touch with us.