Over the winter, Ecocentric interviewed farmers across the country from our Eat Well Guide in an effort to highlight both the challenges and triumphs of sustainable farmers across the country. Join us as we delve in to discover what it means to be a farmer in the 21st century.
Pam and Clint Cavers of Harborside Farms in Pilot Mound, MB, Canada raise beef, pork, and chicken on 200 acres in Manitoba and have a CSA that sells whole animals. To support the new farmer movement they have set up two incubator farms on their property.
What do you grow/raise on your farm?
We raise American Mulefoot pigs, Red poll/ Speckled white park/ and jersey cattle. Heritage laying hens, milk goats and sheep.
How many acres do you farm?
What does your farm produce in a year?
Our farm produces enough protein to feed 100 farm subscriptions. Over 50 beef, 60 pigs, 60 lambs, 1200 chickens, lots of eggs.
Describe your local food community in four words.
Young, smart, energy, commitment
What is your favorite aspect of farming?
Living off the land. Working and living in the same space.
"It is so exciting to have the energy from these new farmers that it keeps us going when sometimes it is hard. Every community needs this type of energy."
What do you think about the growing new farmer movement? What advice do you have for people who want to become farmers?
I think the growing new farmer movement is fantastic; in fact we have set up two incubator farms just because of this. We have two farms with houses that have small acres around the house; this is our fourth year doing this. It is so exciting to have the energy from these new farmers that it keeps us going when sometimes it is hard. Every community needs this type of energy. We mentor them and help as much as we can although we have learned that you cannot help out too much; there is a line. Bringing new people to town is so exciting!
Can you speak about the slaughtering process? Do you slaughter on site or drive to the nearest facility?
We do not slaughter on site, this happens a few miles away. We drive to this facility. We are truly fortunate to have this option. My husband works at the facility on kill days so we can assure our eaters that we have a hand in it all the way through. From there the carcasses are brought back to our on farm processing plant where we cut everything up ourselves.
Do you plan to grow your business? What do your plans entail?
We do not plan on growing our business much more than it is right now. We have a subscription farm similar to CSA but with whole animals. We are just about full and hope to inspire other farmers in our food network to do something similar. We never wanted anything more than to make a good living on the farm, raise our girls and live a happy life with good food and good friends.