Windy Hill Organic Farm
Alyson Chisholm runs Windy Hill Organic Farm. We talked with Alyson about how she got started in Community Supported Agriculture.
Tell us about your farm:
We moved to the 45 acre property in 2009 from BC where I had been working on certified organic farms. The first thing we did was plow up the land and plant cover crops. In 2011, we started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program offering a variety of vegetables - the CSA is still our priority today. Now I have 4 acres in organic vegetables and green manures, plus two greenhouses and two high tunnels. I also keep about 100 laying hens and a small herd of goats, but the livestock are not certified organic.
Why did you become certified organic?
My early experiences in BC were on organic farms and also I worked with FarmFolk CityFolk connecting people with sustainably grown food. Philosophically, organic makes sense. We need to get behind something that moves us toward more sustainable practices and the organic standards already exist and support the principles that are important. Industrial farming is not sustainable. We need to take better care of soil and support diversity.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
This year, the challenge has been finding people to work on the farm. We’ve been short-handed all season which has put us behind on some tasks. Pests are another problem. I’ve seen at least three new insect pests this year causing damage to the leeks, broccoli and squash.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The goats - they need to be milked!
I get excited about farming, there’s always something new and different. You might think you have it all figured out but it just keeps challenging you to come up with new ways of doing things. And it never gets old to see the first plants popping up in the spring, or being able to give customers beautiful, delicious and healthy produce. I love the enthusiasm the kids bring when they pull out the veggies in their CSA bag; kids getting excited about fresh carrots! Connecting young people to where their food comes from. It’s very satisfying.
Where to buy:
The CSA is our main business; local folks can visit our WEBSITE for more information. We’re also part of a cooperative of organic growers selling at the Dieppe Farmers’ Market and we’ve recently opened a Farm Store where we offer a variety of items from our farm and other small farms in the area including eggs, jams, flavoured vinegars, and dried herbs.