Share our farm
a working farm
Farm: Mats Fine Oils
Location: Straffordville, Southwestern Ontario
Accommodation: apartment on the farm for full time
My wife and I want to share our regenerative farm to reduce our workload as we age. I need to spend more time continuing to managing the fields to build soil health as well as working more with our draft horses. Dorothee would like more time in the garden and we would like to do some kayaking in Georgian bay.
We press Sunflower, flax, camelina and hemp oils from crops on our farm. We also produce rye and spelt flour along with corn meal from our fields. We have heritage chickens and organic eggs and are self sufficient in feeding ourselves and our animals, have solar cells and generators that run on sunflower oil for our own electricity. We also have grid available.
As well as the four draft horses we have four tractors that run on sunflower oil, a combine and a swather with all of the equipment needed in the fields as well as everything for baling hay.
We practice regenerative farming using pastures and animals, having crops only after many seasons of pasture.
We have a welding shop, machine shop and wood working shop and all the equipment necessary for making and maintaining our equipment.
The farm is debt and mortgage free and have a good customer base for our oil and flour sales.
We built a new two bedroom apartment over our new workshop and would like to find a family or couple that want to share this lifestyle in hopes that they develop their own business as well as work on the farm or take over some of our enterprises.
We could provide an apartment, a shared garden, and a field to grow their own business in return for 15 -20 hours a week working on the oil pressing, in field work and equipment maintenance. Wages are also possible depending on Soil health knowledge, farming skills, horsemanship, welding, woodworking and machine shop ability.
Please look up the site I created to inform you about our self sufficient lifestyle:
thought is to set up a co operative style farm. We have the
possibility of providing many occupations such as vegetable oils,
welding, machine shop work, vegetable gardens, chickens and machine
maintenance, logging with horses, firewood. Any of these will need a
number of people working and sharing to make it happen. One of the
most important needs on a farm is a maintenance person.
In the meantime I am inviting anyone interested to come out for a day visit then later come out for a few days to experience some of the work involved that we will prepare. This may interest some persons to continue helping on the farm for a few days at a time and eventually lead to creating an occupation and being part of our co operative farm.
Dorothee started by visiting and gradually found things that suited her being and decided to quit being a pharmacist to becoming a farm assist. This process has started for a number of prospective participants in our farm.
I'm not sure how this will all work out but I have not found any other way that we can assure being fed and housed in our near future especially since our climate is changing and certain crops are becoming more difficult to grow. Finding ways to mitigate these difficulties is very frustrating at times.
Making a living:
One of the things I am trying to do is to have any person interested in coming here devise a financial plan to see if it is viable and has a future.
The food is from a shared garden, the wood for the stove is from our wood lot and a shared responsibility for wood chopping . The apartment could be traded for a certain amount of hours each week working for us. So if one has their own business it should give some money for the other needs in life. There may also be some wages for those experienced in the fields, welding, machine maintenance and horses .
We live a very intensive work load as the timing for crops and cover crops is very critical. Working with the horses is something that needs a lot of time every day to not only to feed them, brush them and training.
Haying is hard work loading our hay barns but is very important for the horses to survive the winter months with no pasture.
There is a lot to do in the fields with crops and cover crops. Timing of everything is critical. Harvesting to be done with a combine and lots of seed cleaning to be done as well.
The oil pressing occurs about every 6 weeks. I do all of the oil pressing in about one day, filter and bottle for two more days then deliveries to the stores and drop off locations to customers. I generally spend a month cleaning up doing just a couple of hours each day when it rains.
Some thoughts and Questions answered.
I have been interviewing a
number of people and it is a very difficult
thing to do with trying to understand what potential candidates expect
and what my idea of the future is. Farming is going to be difficult and
responding to the climate change is just one of the things to deal with.
Diminishing Fossil fuels are certainly going to make our present
lifestyle difficult. Having a farm that is at least self sufficient is a
good start but things like solar cells are only useful for a short
lifespan. Mine are already about 10 -15 years old. Yes I have sunflower
oil for my diesel but I think the horses are at least sustainable as
they can replicate .
Growing things seems to be the best bet for a any future if one likes to
eat and having a community makes life worthwhile.
There are always downsides to everything we do and the vaccine is the same. When I was diagnosed with Leukemia and there was little hope of any recovery our doctor made a suggestion that perhaps I could get a stem cell transplant. There was less that a 30 percent chance this would work and beside the first session of Chemo did not go well and my outlook was very poor. My doctor made the suggestion that we could try another chemo session. It would either kill me or jump start my immune system. My immune system started to come alive but not good enough to qualify for a stem cell transplant so he made the suggestion that we could try again with another chemo session. It worked very well and I qualified for a stem cell transplant. Again the prospect of more chemo, radiation and hospitalization in Toronto.
I have never been more sick than after the stem cell transplant and again recovery was very unsure. I did survive but I was the only one in our small group of friends I met in hospital.
Dorothee my wife was a pharmacist before we met and she certainly knew the outcome was probably not very good. But I trusted that my doctors had some sound scientific experience and perhaps just as important was that I was a very healthy seventy year old.
The pandemic is very real and will kill many people. Just being healthy is not an assurance that you will not get sick, die nor give the illness to others you meet.
The mandates are mostly geared to alleviating the overwhelmed hospital workers. It is not the be best solution but I trust those who have experience and a scientific background
We may all get the pandemic at some point but hopefully there will be a hospital bed for those who need help overcoming the pandemic and some surgeries and cancer patients can have access to the hospital.
For those who wish to pursue this further please email me (email@example.com)and suggest a date and give me your phone number then we can have a telephone conversation, I will call you after 8pm on that day that you reserve.
Just to give you an idea of how we survive financially it costs about $1000 an acre so about $50,000 per year . Our income from the oils, flour and chickens is about $35000. Our pensions make up the difference. We have no mortgage and no debts. We own all of our equipment for horses and tractors but most of it is old but in good condition as I can fix or rebuild everything easily. A lot of our expenses are to do with cover crop seeds, composts and amendments to improve the soils.
Having a machine shop and welding shop makes a big difference in maintaining the equipment and costs. I can't emphasis enough that one must be very adept at the many skills required to run a farm.
We are financially doing better each year but so much depends on the world situation. Becoming more local in our customers and keeping prices at a reasonable level are very important.
We do value added farming, I grow something and then turn it into flour or oils using machines that I purchase or create. In this area I have no competition whereas in veggie growing there are many people competing which also required travelling each week to various markets. Those who do vegetables do not last many seasons before burnout.
We are self sufficient in food, water, electricity and sunflower oil for fuel for our diesels. We have ample diesel generators that run on sunflower oil to provide any heavy electrical power. The downside may be is that we work every day but at a leisurely pace dictated by the weather.
Horses do take time as I brush them and work with them in some manner every day but the rewards are wonderful. Managing the pastures is an art as they are the basis for improving soil health.
To be able to survive one needs to have many skills in plumbing, computers, electricity, mechanics, soil health and finances. Having all to tools is essential to repair and rebuild everything one uses on a farm. Finances are done Sunday morning and having well grounded background in financial debits and credits is a must.
Living here on our farm one has everything one needs to survive well but in the beginning there will a lack of income for paying down debts and living expenses.
I feel very insecure about the future with climate change coming on so quickly connected fossil fuel restraints and basic unrest in the world so I have prepared to be self sufficient in everything. I read about the end of growth back in 1986 I started working towards being elf sufficient. I am preparing for mass unemployment in the near future, more pandemics and theft.