~ A Family Micro Farm ~
Grant was born in Wiarton and grew up in the area and other parts of Southern Ontario. Julie was born and raised in France. Our sons Arthur and Raphael are raised bilingually and are currently home/farm schooled.
Grant and Julie met 10 years ago, here at the farm when Julie came to help out through an organization called WWOOF. At the time, it was owned by Grant's mother and grandmother who had been living here since 2007. Grant and Julie took ownership the Summer of 2018, having had a long term vision of what they could create here.
Micro farming is small-scale, high yield, sustainably minded farming, often conducted by hand with minimal use of machinery. Our property is 7 1/4 acres and was originally part of a larger farm dating back to 1845. About half of the property is pasture. The rest includes our house and barn (part of the historic homestead), old orchards gone wild (under restoration), a large vegetable garden feeding us and our animals, extensive medicinal flower and herb gardens, a labyrinth and the wellness studio.
Permaculture is a concept and practice that has inspired Grant for many years. Reading books by Masanobu Fukuoka, and several other authors on subjects of permaculture, natural farming, no till orchards and gardens, and the benefits of simplifying systems, fueled a strong desire to put this knowledge to action. Julie has also embraced these ideas. Long inspired by her favorite "LandArt" artist Andy Goldsworthy who uses nature to create beautiful, organic, non permanent art installations, she welcomed the opportunity to work with the land, plants and animals in their ever changing and evolving ways. Together, Grant and Julie are combining their interests and philosophies to develop this lifelong project in their own unique way.
Holistically managed means that we are constantly adapting how we relate to the animals and the land, based on individual needs, seasonal changes, weather fluctuations and natural cycles.
We treat all our animals with care and kindness, making sure that they have as much potential for enrichment in their lives as we can provide. Our livestock have year round access to the outdoors and shelter. We protect them from predators with preventive techniques: including livestock guardian dogs, electric fences, motion detector lights, and daily patrols with the family dog.
We focus on Heritage breeds. In addition to their beauty, raising heritage livestock helps preserve biodiversity and gives us access to traditional and hardy animals better suited to outdoor, pasture raised life and a greater resistance to disease.
There is a lot of hidden work that goes with managing them. Research, collaboration with others, finding and accessing/re establishing good genetics, all can be a challenge, but worth it in the end. Heritage breeds taste better and come from an age when quality was still as important as quantity.
We are conscious of our impact as human beings on the Planet. This can be seen and felt immediately in how the animals and plants respond to our activities here at Stonegrove. It's essential for us that we live in a way that improves the environment and leaves it better for our children and generations to come. Regenerative is an emergent concept in the environmental and agricultural world where how we manage the land, production, food, and resources needed for human civilization, is done in a way that regenerates and improves the environment to sustain life, and even more, thrive.
Rotational grazing, holistic management, biodiversity through multiple species of plants and animals, minimum/no use of harsh chemicals or synthetics products, all increases soil health and therefore improves the life supporting ability here on our farm and the earth.
It’s a way of life: our attention, our passion, our creativity, our desire for beauty, and our human need for expression is reflected in everything we do at Stonegrove Farm & Wellness Studio. From the smallest details to the larger tapestry of life weaving back and forth across our land, in every product and service offered you can see, feel and taste the personal care and attention we put into creating it.