Our Practices

Certified Organic

Many of the crops we grow are certified organic by Ecocert Canada.

Our motivation to farm organically is caring for the earth. We believe that organic farming is the best way to protect our environment while feeding ourselves. Protecting and honouring soil, water, air, biodiversity and caring people and community are central to our way of farming. We do this in various ways and are happy to share with you all of the details on how we farm and why.

Crop Rotation Plan

We strive to not plant families on the same piece of ground year after year. We try to incorporate hay/pasture every 5 years. Generally, we strive for a 3 year rotation, but on some fields we have been doing a 5 year rotation. Crops that end early enough, we put a cover crop of a grain (rye or wheat), that will be incorporated the following spring.

Soil Fertility
Based on the length we have between planting and harvesting we decide what to use. For short season crops we use Nutri Wave and for long season crops we use manures. Nutri Wave is heat treated, pelletized chicken manure sourced from Envirem in New Brunswick and is approved as an organic inputAnimal manures can and are only used when we have no less than 120 days until harvest. Animal manure we use are sourced from Stephen Rand (beef), Capeview Farms (poultry manure), or our own animals (chicken, goat, hog). Plough down green manures are also in rotation to enhance soil fertility. We compost our cardboard and vegetable trimmings and we use compost tea. During the field’s time of rest (hay or pasture in the rotation) the soil builds up micronutrients that release nutrients to the crops.

Soil Tillage
Our primary tillage tool is a chisel plough followed by heavy discs. Then we finish with a s-tyne harrow with rolling baskets and/or rototiller. After the crop has been seeded, we cultivate for weed suppression. After the crop has been harvested, depending on the time of year we may have sufficient time to disc and then seed grain to be a winter cover crop.

Pest Management

Weeds
Flame weeder, rolling baskets, s-tyne cultivator, reggie weeder, hand weeding, black plastic mulch (not biodegradable).

Insects/Disease
We use permissible insecticides according to the Canadian Organic Standards for example Dipel. We depend on healthy soils to produce healthy plants to withstand pest pressure. We crop scout to ensure we are under threshold limits we hire a professional agrologist crop scout to monitor pest pressure in our crops and to advise on our options.

Livestock Farming: Pastured Animals

We farm animals for three reasons: One, we want to have access to the fertility the animals provide to the soil. Two, because we are meat eaters and we want to raise the animals we eat. Three, to build in resilience into our farm. The animals play a key role in preparing the soil for planting.

Here is a list of inputs we use in our livestock farming:

Straw for bedding baled from our rotation crops of rye, wheat and barley
Hog and Goat ration, Non GMO from Purina Feed
Chicken layer ration, Non GMO from Purina Feed
Chicken grower rations, Non GMO from Purina Feed
Wood chips for nesting boxes for hens sourced from Shurgain and Scotain Gold.
Ivermectin to deworm the goats when needed based on fecal samples
Selenium for new lambs and kids
Antibiotics if required and on advice of veterinarian

Non Organic

Since we started farming in 2004 non organic production practices have been a part of our farming model. This has been for two reasons. 1) cost of production in terms of cash flow and 2) because of #1, there are two orchards that were not planted with organic production in mind. They are sweet cherries, gala and honeycrisps. Our plan has been to farm these orchards to the end of their useful life cycle non organically and then replant for organic production. We also grow sweet corn non organically. The insect (worm) pressure on the sweet corn is high and we have found that there is zero tolerance in the marketplace for wormy corn. This is a decision we make to balance our income with market demand for these few crops. It isn’t perfect and in some ways one could question our integrity as a whole because we have these mixed approaches to production. That is fair. Although in these cases we are using non organic inputs our overall production practices regarding reduced tillage, use of manure, cover cropping, crop rotation, etc are employed on all of our land. When a non organic input is used, it is based on careful observation of the population of pests and after other interventions have occured.

CanGAP Certified

Each year we have a 3rd party audit and each day we keep track of details. This is all to ensure that our farm is following the best practices for keeping the food we grow safe.

“CanadaGAP® is a food safety program for companies that produce, handle and broker fruits and vegetables. The program has received full Canadian Government Recognition, and is designed to help implement and maintain effective food safety procedures within fresh produce operations. Two manuals, one specific to greenhouse operations, the second for other fruit and vegetable operations, have been developed by the horticultural industry and reviewed for technical soundness by Canadian government officials. The manuals are designed for companies implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in their production, packing and storage operations, and for repackers and wholesalers implementing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and HACCP programs. The program is also designed for fresh produce brokers implementing best practices in supplier management and product traceability.

The manuals are based on a rigorous hazard analysis applying the seven principles of the internationally-recognized HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) approach. The program is benchmarked to and officially recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Audit and certification services for the program are delivered by accredited Certification Bodies.”  www.canadagap.ca

Occupational Health and Safety

TapRoot has an active OH&S committee and program. We meet monthly to review safety policies and standard operating procedures for tasks on the farm and to complete walking tours to identify safety concerns. We use the resources available by the province of NS and by Farm Safety Nova Scotia. farmsafetyns.ca

“Safe workplaces are created by people who care. Your health and safety in the workplace is protected by Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. We are a key part of Nova Scotia’s Workplace Safety and Insurance System. Our staff promote, coordinate, administer, and enforce occupational health and safety.” novascotia.ca/lae/healthandsafety

Contact Us

(902) 542-3277

info@taprootfarms.ca

Drive: 451 Canard St. Port Williams, NS

Mail: 1736 Church St. Port Williams, NS, B0P1T0

Enjoy weekly local produce year-round with our Community Shared Agriculture program

TapRoot Farms proudly supports women farmers through Farmers Helping Farmers.