What are we doing?We believe in small-scale farming, and community supported agriculture (CSA) as an important part of both food and clothing security. We have taken a big step to put these principles into practice - but now we need your help!
We are trying to raise $4000 for the necessary next steps in establishing a Fibre CSA. This money will be used to:
Build both a perimeter fence and electric fencing around our pasture which will provide protection and allow us to rotationally graze the sheep.
Build a three-sided shelter for the sheep for the winter months.
Purchase the first Shetland sheep that will begin our fibre flock.
Who are we?
A year ago (April 2015) I sold my community based local yarn shop (Baaad Anna's Yarn Store) and with my husband and two young sons, packed up our belongings and moved from the Westcoast of Canada to Manitoba.
In 6 weeks we found a beautiful piece of land - 140 acres east of Winnipeg, Treaty One Territory. Attracted to the land because of its mostly untouched landscape, forests and wetlands, but also its potential for a small flock of pastured sheep, we moved in June 26, 2015!
It has been a great learning curve, as neither of us have actually lived on a farm, let alone had livestock to care for. But it's been an exciting, challenging, rewarding, hilarious experience and we are eager for the next step!
I am passionate about building community, challenging injustice in our world and creating alternatives, Long Way Homestead is the next step in pursuing these passions. A fibre farm and CSA model is not just about selling fibre and yarn, its about clothing security, understanding the land both ecologically and historically, its about respecting animals, and understanding where and how our clothing and food is produced.
I also intend for this farm to be a place where learning, community and connection thrives.
About Long Way Homestead:
The farm is situated on 140 acres east of Winnipeg at the edge of the Boreal Plains region. The land is a mix of forest dominated by Balsam Poplar, Jack Pine, and Black Spruce trees. Most of the farm is not cultivated, making it a perfect habitat for deer, coyotes, beaver, squirrels and many different species of birds. Cooks Creek runs through the property and much of the land is a thriving wetland - welcoming to Sand Cranes, downy woodpeckers, swallows, Canada goose, hummingbirds and cedar waxwings.
Curently we have a lovely flock of laying hens, new baby chicks who are growing every day! In the early spring we added 3 pigs (all lovingly named after darth lords from star wars). By the end of June we will have added our shetland sheep and more chickens. We have plans to expand to include goats, angora rabbits and maybe even alpacas!
As guiding values for how we treat our animals on the farm we strive for: Providing access to fresh seasonal vegetation for all our animals.(Pasture Raised)
No growth hormones or antibiotics
We source our grain locally and avoid known GMO grains
Use permaculture principles in all we do on the farm
What is a CSA and how will it work for Fibre?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a system in which both the benefits and the risks of agriculture production is shared by the shareholders within the community. Most often the consumers will purchase 'shares' from a local farm at the beginning of the growing season, thus ensuring the viability for the farmer. The consumer will then receive vegetables, fruit, grains and/or meat throughout the year according to what has been grown and what is in season.
A fibre CSA is a chance for knitters, spinners, dyers and crafters to have a closer connection to where their wool comes from and what is involved in bringing it to the consumer. By purchasing a 'share' every year you are supporting the raising of the sheep, the shearing, the cleaning and the end product.
You also get to witness the process - through visiting the farm, or watching on social media.
This provides a connection with the sheep and also supports small, local, Canadian farmers. In the winter, Long Way Homestead will sell 'shares' for fibre or yarn, and after the spring shearing you will receive your fibre or yarn.
Throughout the year there will be many opportunities to observe or participate in the process, these include:
fall harvest supper
shearing festival in the spring
videos, pictures, blog posts throughout the year about the flock
open information about what the sheep eat,how they are raised and how the fibre is processed.
We will also sell yarn and fibre through our farm store.
Timeline and Budget:
As soon as the ground is soft enough we will begin construction and installation of our fencing (Mid May 2016). We will initially be fencing off about 10 acres of overgrown pasture, and then using electric fencing so we can rotationally graze our sheep.
The pigs and chickens have already been moved out to the pasture in portable pens, and are assisting us in restoring the overgrown pasture.
By late June 2016 we plan to have our sheep out on pasture.
By the end of August 2016 we will have our winter shelter built (a simple three sided structure that will provide the necessary shelter from the winter elements).
We will do all the work ourselves, and thus cut down on the costs. The breakdown of costs is as follows:
$2000 for fence materials
$1500 for materials for winter shelter
$500 for transporting and transitioning sheep to the new pasture.
And thanks to Old Man Luedecke for making great music, and his generosity in letting us use it for this video! Check out more of his music here.
Risks and challenges
As I am quickly learning, there are countless risks as a small farmer. Weather, disease, death, drought - I really believe that creative thinking, lots of preparation and the drive to work it out will be the biggest strategy to combat the various risks we may face.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)