In 2011, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Although he was told he had only 6 months to live, we enjoyed another 4 years with him. During those years, we researched why people get cancer in the first place and found out that the mainstream diet plays a huge part in why people get sick.
We put him on many specialized diets, not knowing exactly which one would help keep him alive but ultimately the cancer had advanced too far to save him. One thing was clear however, a diet free from chemicals was of utmost importance.
After he passed, I decided to become a nutritionist and through learning more about disease prevention and our food system, growing organic food was the only thing I would be comfortable with. Using chemicals anywhere near the food we would eat and grow for the people in our community, would be against everything I stand for. This is why growing organic haskap berries is important to us.
Why is organic farming beneficial?
Like many, I used to think that we needed to accept that we live in a world full of chemicals. That there was no way to avoid it and that eating organic food was just an expensive drop in the bucket.
After my extensive research and education as a nutritionist, I realized that although not all chemicals can be avoided, keeping chemicals out of the food we consume, will give us the vitality needed to fight the chemicals we cannot avoid. I learned that all disease starts in the gut and that chemicals destroy this complex ecosystem that is the foundation of our health.
By growing organic food we develop healthy soil that supports this ecosystem.
How is our farm friendly to the environment?
Just as there is a complex ecosystem within our body, ecosystems are everywhere in nature. When ecosystems are destroyed, the balance nature has created is disrupted. Because our haskap bushes are part of an ecosystem, disrupting their environment by using chemicals in our field, will eventually affect the health of our bushes and our crop.
We recognize that one of our biggest assets is the soil our haskap berries grow in and the microorganisms that are part of that soil. By avoiding all chemicals, adding compost from our chicken coop and using only natural fertilizers, we care for our soil as much as we do for our berry bushes.
Sustainable berry farming
We weed around all 3,000 haskap berry bushes by hand from April until August in a rotational manner. A weed killer would take an hour to apply but we chose to put in hours of work per week to avoid that option.
We use drip irrigation at night to use water as efficiently as possible.
We use compost made from the bedding in the chicken coop and apply it scoop by scoop to each bush.
We inherited from the previous homeowners a huge perennial garden bed that runs all the way along the front of the house. We see that it attracts an abundance of bee species to the property which is great for pollinating our haskaps!