Since 2003, the award-winning FortWhyte Farms program has been working with marginalized youth, using the practice of sustainable urban agriculture to build confidence and leadership skills, provide employment training, while instilling values of individual and community self-reliance.
FortWhyte Farms is a social enterprise – a business whose purpose goes beyond a purely financial ‘bottom line’ to see profit in the far reaching social and economic benefits that extend into the lives of individuals, families and communities.
SIGN UP TODAY FOR YOUR 2013 CSA SHARE
Purchase a ‘share’ of our farm’s bounty and become a partner in local, sustainable agriculture and an essential community social enterprise - providing employment and leadership training for marginalized youth. When you purchase a share in our farm, you are not only making an investment in food for your family, you are also investing in your community.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Community Supported Agriculture, here’s how it works: Community members purchase a share of vegetables or other farm products prior to the growing season. This provides the farmer with some security and stability, knowing that there will be a consistent market for their product. In return you receive a weekly basket of fresh vegetables throughout the growing season. There is a small degree of risk in this purchase in that unforeseen circumstances and environmental conditions can affect the quantity and variety of produce - but this risk is now shared between farmer and eater, instead of the usual situation where the farmer bears all of the risks. The typical result however is an abundance of wonderful, fresh, sustainable, local food straight from our fields to your table - not a bad return on investment!
Starting in July and continuing for approximately 12 weeks, you will receive a weekly crop of fresh, local, sustainably grown produce. The quantity of vegetables is suited to the needs of a family of 4. It is not uncommon for families to ’share a share’ and split the bounty between them, or alternate pick-up weeks.
A wide variety of vegetables will be available as they come into season. Initially, you can expect items such as lettuce and gourmet greens like arugula and chevril, beets, swiss chard, kale and radishes. As the summer progresses items such as heirloom tomatoes and squash, garlic, potatoes, cucumbers, onion, green onion, yellow and purple beans, melon, peppers, carrots, herbs, pumpkins and zucchini. Bonus items might include raspberries and apples, depending on the growing season.
As a mixed farm we also offer shares in our pasture raised meat (pork and chicken) and honey from our apiary. This year’s meat share will include:
All our produce and livestock are grown using natural, sustainable growing methods. No use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides in our gardens. All livestock are free-range/pasture-raised and free of antibiotics and animal by-products.
Don’t miss out on one of FortWhyte Farms most popular products, by pre-ordering your chicken today.
Our chickens are raised outdoors, on pasture without the use of antibiotics. For more information on how we raise our chickens, click here.
Chickens are available througout the summer and are sold by weight at $3.30/lb. Minimum price is $15.00. A non-refundable $5 deposit per bird is required. Deposit will be deducted when you pick up your order.
Actual sizes and total prices will be determined when chickens are picked up by customer. Weights range from 4-7 pounds.
Use our convenient online order form to place your order and make your deposit via Paypal.
In the most recent issue of FortWhyte’s LIFE newsletter, we shared the latest initiative at FortWhyte Farms - a new Co-op business that will be operated by ’graduates’ of our employment and training programs for inner-city youth. In 2013, a team of three of these young people will be contracting with FortWhyte Farms to manage our beekeeping and honey production operation on a pilot basis. They are participating in training through SEED Winnipeg (Supporting Employment and Economic Development) to help them create a formal business plan to guide them in their venture.
Of course, even the best laid plans are subject to the whims of Mother Nature. A hot, dry summer followed by an exceptionally long winter, combined with ongoing stress from disease and parasites have left many Manitoba beekeepers with heavy colony losses this spring. FortWhyte Farms is no exception. A recent early spring hive inspection revealed that we must replace the majority of the 40 honey bee colonies that we operate each year - not a great way to start new business!
This is where you can help! Your tax-deductible donation of $200 will sponsor the purchase of one new colony of bees for the new Youth Co-op. Any donation of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt.
These colonies allow the Co-op to give them a fresh start in their new enterprise. Our goal is to raise $8,000 to purchase 40 new honey bee colonies.Thank you for creating a true BUZZZZZ around this unique social enterprise program.
Working at FortWhyte Farms has helped me become a positive leader, a role model, and to mature as an individual. The impact it has made in my life is a very positive one. I have also had the privilege to learn many things from my Farm, coworkers, and on my own. I hope one day that I may teach others what I have learned. I also hope that FortWhyte Farms sees many new faces in the years to come, so that they can enjoy the Farm experience.
During my time in the SEED Build a Business program, I have learned a great deal about the apiculture industry and a lot about business management in a short amount of time, and by the time the program ends we should have a drafted business plan.
My hopes for our Bee Co-op, is to be successful, to grow and expand, to have members, and to have future FortWhyte Farms interns and other people work with us and enjoy what the bees have to offer.
In my life, I never would have imagined I would be 1/3 owner of a business, but I’m glad to be a part of such a great opportunity and to have amazing business partners. This has made my family very proud of me to have accomplished this.
Keep up to date with FortWhyte Farms. Click the link below to receive regular updates throughout the growing season on what is available for sale at FortWhyte Farms.
Summer brings a literal buzz of activity to FortWhyte Farms, but not just from the bee hives! Young people who have been working on FortWhyte Farms projects throughout the winter and spring are employed full-time as part of our Farm “internship” program. These interns receive in-depth training in all our areas of production, assist in operating our on-site and urban market stands and develop leadership and employment skills. As participants continue to progress through the program and build their skills, they will become mentors for newer participants. Eventually the FortWhyte Farms participants will receive assistance in bridging from our program into higher education or further employment opportunities.
Since 2003, the award-winning FortWhyte Farms program has been working with marginalized youth, using the practice of sustainable urban agriculture to build confidence and leadership skills, provide employment training, and instil values of individual and community self-reliance.
Working in partnership with a network of respected inner-city schools and youth serving agencies, including Gordon Bell and R.B. Russell and Argyle Alternative High Schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, Pembina Trails School Division (Aboriginal Academic Achievement Program) and Marymound, FortWhyte Farms works on a weekly basis with groups of youth ages 14-18 from each agency. Youth receive hands-on training and experience in our agricultural projects, equipping them with genuine, meaningful employment skills such as team work, leadership, initiative and discipline.
The long-term goal of this program is to serve as a catalytic, transformative force in the lives of at-risk youth and their families by providing hands-on training in sustainable urban-based agriculture, thus providing them with a sense of hope, purpose and place, new and improved sources of income, and enhanced access to high quality, locally produced food.
FortWhyte Farms participants assist in the management of 30 bee hives on site at FortWhyte with the capacity of producing 4000 pounds of honey per year. The FortWhyte Farms headquarters houses a complete honey extracting and bottling facility, allowing participants to be a part of the entire cycle of honey production.
FortWhyte Farms currently has a 1.5 acres of garden space and a 250 tree fruit orchard that is used to provide horticultural training and grow produce for sale at an on-site market. Most vegetables are sold through our Community Supported Agriculture program, where people purchase ‘shares’ of vegetables from the farm in advance of the growing season.
Our 2,000 square foot solar, cold climate greenhouse has greatly enhanced the training opportunities for participating youth, as well as extended the growing season.
One of the most important and engaging aspects of our agricultural operations is the raising of livestock, such as chickens and pigs. The daily care and nurturing that the animals require, add a powerful element of character building to our programming that always has a lasting impact on our participants.
Since 2008, FortWhyte Farms participants have received hands-on training in small scale livestock production through a ‘Pastured Poultry’ operation. The youth are involved with caring for the chicks as they brood indoors, daily feeding and pen moving, pen construction, crating chickens to be sent for processing and selling (and eating!) the final product. Each year, we have gradually raised production to the point where 750 will be raised in 2013. We also have a small flock of egg-laying hens
Raising chickens on pasture is a method that combines the advantages of birds raised indoors in confinement (protection from predators) with the advantages of free-range poultry (more space, natural instinctive behaviour is encouraged, more varied diet). The birds are brooded indoors from 1 day of age to about 4 weeks, when they are moved outside onto pasture, and housed in movable pens called chicken tractors. The birds are fed a mixed feed that provides their minimum nutritional requirements, but, because the are able to forage on grasses, plants and insects, their diet has much greater variety than birds raised on feed alone, and the result is a more nutrient-dense, tastier meat. Each day, the pen is moved to fresh grass. As the birds are moved around the pasture, they enrich the soil through their grazing, manure and scratching. The pens help protect them from the elements and predators.
FortWhyte Farms raises Berkshire Pigs on pasture located near the farm headquarters. Pigs are rotated though garden spaces to maintain soil fertility. The meat is sold through our CSA program and on-site market. Up to 20 Pigs are planned for 2013.
Heifer International, one of FortWhyte Farms’ major supporters, employs a strategy of “Passing on the Gift” whereby people and groups who receive support from Heifer, commit to share their livestock, knowledge, resources, and skills to form an expanding network of individual and community self-reliance. Passing on the Gift is a key program component for FortWhyte Farms participants who have benefited from Heifer support.
FortWhyte Farms contact information:
Ian Barnett, Social Enterprise Programs Manager - 989-8354, email@example.com
Kristine Zylstra-Moore, Program Coordinator - 895-2373, firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle Mondor, Operations Coordinator - 895-2373, email@example.com