About Our Farm
The farm is located on Oleksuk Road in the municipality of Neebing. It is roughly 150 acres. There is currently a cattle barn, hay barn and garage. Although the farm is new to us, the land itself has its own history. It was farmed from 2010-2017 by Rob & Janice Groenheide as Walkabout Farm. They purchased it from the Olesuk family who had farmed it since the 1950s. The farmhouse itself is an original "Border House" that was moved from the U.S.-Canadian border to the farm in 1961. Its history led to the name of our farm.
All four of us are anomalies in the farming world as we did not grow up on farms. Beverly and Bryan began farming in the Haliburton area in the mid-2000s on a small 56-acre mixed farm. They raised lamb, pigs, chickens and cattle, as well as maintained a large market garden. They became regulars at the local farmer's markets and their products were sold directly to customers and restaurants. Brody and Gwen were introduced to farming through them and began raising chickens and growing their own garden on 42 acres outside of Fort Frances in the community of Devlin.
The timing was right for all of us to partner and Thunder Bay seemed the ideal spot to start our new farm together. Although Brody is the only true Northerner, having been born and raised in Thunder Bay, we all have come to appreciate this part of the country. The farming community has been very welcoming and we are excited by the support we see for local farmers and local businesses. But living and working on a farm is much more than simply a business; it is a lifestyle. While that lifestyle involves hard work, long hours, and no guarantees, we still feel very lucky that we get this opportunity. After all, there is nothing quite like watching a flock of sheep moving slowly across a pasture under the setting sun.
We all became interested in farming for the same reasons: we wanted to make sure our food was raised ethically and was of the highest quality. A component of that was guaranteeing that our food was as natural as possible as we had family members that became ill when consuming commercially-produced meat. It is important to us that our animals live the most natural life possible, free from stress and with their needs well-taken care of. The animals on our farm truly come first.
We also believe that all of our practices on the farm should be sustainable. To us, this means that the land is in just as good (or better) condition than when we found it. We are focused on minimizing water use and maximizing reliance on natural, renewable, and on-farm inputs. Improving soil health through minimal tilling, cover cropping, the application of composts/manures, and the use of mulches are central practices in our operation. Lastly, we are working to create a diversified farm that integrates both crops and livestock in the same farming operation for maximum environmental benefit.