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Farmers learning and growing together, on and off the field

Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop

Our project Farms at Work promotes healthy and active farmlands within the Kawartha Region in Ontario. Jay Adam shares how Farms at Work helped bring over 100 farmers and landowners together for a ‘fresh’ workshop on farm stewardship.

By: Jay Adam, Program Coordinator, Farms At Work

On Saturday January 19, 2013 over one hundred farmers and landowners from around East-Central Ontario packed into the Peterborough Naval Association’s Admiralty Hall to take part in the first ever Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop. As a partner in the Kawartha Farm Stewardship Collaborative (KFSC), Farms at Work provided administrative and technical support in coordinating the first of hopefully many future workshops on the topic of farm stewardship in the region.

The capacity crowd was treated to a morning of informative presentations on topics ranging from pollinator conservation on farmland, to the economic benefits of stewardship projects on farm businesses, as well as a discussion on cover crops and soil health. Speakers included Susan Chan and Pat Learmonth (both from Farms at Work) and Peter Doris, Environmental and Nutrient Management Specialist from OMAFRA. Also on hand was a panel of farmers who outlined to the rapt audience the various types of stewardship work they had implemented on their own farms and the benefits of that work on their businesses.

Along with a delicious lunch, prepared by the Naval Association, workshop participants also received aerial maps of their properties. These maps helped them to discuss possible project opportunities with industry experts and the various partner organizations of the KFSC. On hand were representatives from Ducks Unlimited Canada; the Community Stream Steward Program; Lakeland Alliance; Trees Ontario; Farms at Work; the Invasive Species Council of Ontario; the Environmental Farm Plan; stewardship councils from the counties of Victoria, Northumberland and Peterborough; and the conservation authorities from the regions of Ganaraska, Kawartha, Otonabee and Lower Trent. Plaunts Farm Service sponsored coffee and was a great support to farmers planning alternate watering systems.

Feedback from participants was very positive, and many suggested topics for future farm stewardship workshops. The success of this workshop underlines that farmers are truly engaged in on-farm stewardship. Hopefully, this workshop will be the first of many!

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