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Riverglen Biodynamic Farm news archive for the ‘Educational Ressources’ Category

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Taking over Riverglen

Hello again,

I just wanted to add a few comments for anyone considering farming at Riverglen Farm. I think this 100 acre, urban farm has a great deal to offer to a dedicated team of farmers. Its proximity to a huge customer base, great quality soil, farmhouse and outbuildings mean tremendous potential for the right candidates.

Perhaps even more importantly, this can essentially be a turn-key opportunity. The gardens are prepared, the fences are up, the irrigation infrastructure is there, the hoophouse and coolers are built, the wash station and prep areas are ready to go, there’s almost two dozen acres fenced for cattle, and the customers are eager to sign-up for their 2017 veggies. The value of this can be difficult for an up-and-coming farmer to grasp, but I cannot overstate how much this will help catapult your new business towards financial sustainability. Even without the equipment, there is a significant amount of momentum and interest around this farm that can make launching your new enterprise significantly easier.

The main concern which everyone has been bringing up is the relationship with the National Capital Commission, the organisation who owns the property. For young, eco-minded, forward-thinking, farmers-to-be, the idea of interacting with the real estate division of a huge crown corporation, who also happens to be the largest landowner in Ottawa, is, to say the least, very intimidating. The NCC does have a reputation for being somewhat ruthless in its interactions with various parties, and it has tremendous clout and authority over its assets. Without a doubt, they are exceptionally good at getting things to go their way.

However, the National Capital Commission is still made up of human beings. Many of these people are very talented, passionate individuals, committed to improving the relationship between the NCC and its tenants. In particular, the newly overhauled staff administering the NCC’s agricultural portfolio are determined to providing better service to its farm tenants, and are taking concrete steps to make that happen. This is definitely a good time to get involved with a greenbelt farm.

You will have help and support. I can share lessons learned over the years, and there are also more and more like-minded farm tenants already within the greenbelt, a notable example being the good folks at Just Food Ottawa. If you are well prepared, I know you can establish a positive relationship with the NCC and in return have access to an incredible, unique piece of agricultural property in Ottawa.

When considering taking on this farm property, make sure you are ready to make all the necessary investments yourself. Don’t expect any handouts, compensations, etc. Make a plan that utilizes the entire property; if your plan consists of maintaining a 2 acre garden plot, 2 horses and letting the rest of the acreage go to waste, you will not be considered. That being said, you can always rent pasture land to grazers, croppers, or other interested parties. You don’t have to do everything yourself!

And that’s all I wanted to add. Choosing a place to farm is a big decision and there are pros and cons to each location. While a single person flirting with bankcruptcy like me will have a hard time making ends meet here, I truly believe a well organized, dedicated group of individuals can really grow this farm into its full potential and make a happy, comfortable living here.

Happy planning,


This is a single weblog entry, posted on January 25th, 2017. Comment here »


Eco Farm Day and Internship Opportunities

Winter can be difficult sometimes, but every once in a while, when I peek out from under my tuque and take a minute to soak up my surroundings, I can truly appreciate the serenity in brings. Living out here is truly a gift.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to visit our website and read about our most recent vegetable, beef and chicken subscriptions. You can find more information and sign-up using Farmigo, our online sales system.

Our best marketing tool is word of mouth from happy customers. Please share our newsletter, website and/or Facebook page to your neighbours, friends and colleagues. Let them in on your secret source of farm fresh food! We’re getting ready for a big year to boost sales and make this farm a truly sustainable enterprise, in every sense of the word.

Farm Store
Pickup your veggies right from the farm! 

As you may know, we setup a produce display on the farm three days a week where you can buy our vegetables directly, just like at a farmers market. You can meet the farmers, see the garden, the animals, take a walk in the greenbelt trails and enjoy the good vibes. Since this enterprise has proven itself to be so rewarding for both ourselves and our customers, we’re putting an emphasis on developing its potential.

Look forward to seeing a re-decorated space this summer, more beautiful and more comfortable. We want your visit to the farm to be memorable in every way. If you have building materials, shelving, tablecloths, lighting, paint or other things you think we could use to beautify or space, please contact us. We might be able to use it!
If you like the idea of visiting the farm on a regular basis, you can choose to pickup your CSA vegetables and meat here. You can also shop our display and pay as you go, or prepay now in order to save a few bucks and help us get off to a great start this spring. Email info(at)riverglenfarm.ca for more information!  

Eco Farm Day
A great opportunity to learn 
Winter isn’t all just fun and games! As much as I love playing in the snow, there’s a whole lot of organizing and planning to be done. And learning! A great venue to do just that is Canadian Organic Grower’s EcoFarmDay. It’s happening this Saturday in Cornwall and I’ll be checking it out again this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to chat with Eastern Ontario farmers, compare notes and learn a few tips to better prepare for the upcoming growing season.

Experienced, novice and aspiring farmers alike are sure to glean useful information during the workshops and find interesting leads on a variety of products, associations and services at the tradeshow. You can find more information and pre-register on their website.

Intership Positions Available
We’re hiring!

We’re looking for two able-bodied and sharp-minded people to take on internship positions this season. These are incredibly valuable experiences for people to get integrated into the farming world. In exchange for a room in our house or camper/trailer, lots of fresh food and a weekly stipend, you’ll get acquainted with all the intricacies of life and work on Riverglen Farm.
Formal education barely exists for farming, let alone alternative, sustainable farming methods so this is the next best thing to gain knowledge and experience. And besides, why would you want to accumulate debt by paying ridiculous amounts of money to corporate-owned schools while surviving on cafeteria food and Subway specials when you could live on a riverfront farm in Ottawa’s greenbelt eating like a king or queen?!? No lie, it is hard work, but there’s no better way to learn about farming.

Please read and share our posting!

This is a single weblog entry, posted on February 23rd, 2015. Comment here »


Farm Intern Position Available

Positions available: First year intern, Second year+ intern

Duration: April – mid November

Riverglen Farm is an organic/biodynamic farm located in Ottawa’s Greenbelt, just 20 minutes drive or 1 hour bike from downtown. This 112 acre heritage site is located in the west end of the city, surrounded by Greenbelt forest and wetlands, on the banks of the Ottawa river. We pack about 80 vegetable shares a week for our CSA, and also sell vegetables directly from our farm store, along with chicken, beef and eggs. This year we are putting more emphasis on our farm store sales and expanding our grass-fed beef operation.

Position description:

We are seeking 2 solid persons with clear minds to help with farm tasks this summer. Vegetable production and harvesting up the core of the workload. We use a walk-behind tractor and hand tools to tend our two acre garden made up of permanent, raised beds. Work with animals includes providing daily feed and water, egg collection, and moving our pastured beef and chickens through our rotational grazing system. Maintenance and upkeep of the property and infrastructure is addressed as needed, such as fences, buildings, lawn, flower gardens, etc.

The typical workweek is Monday to Friday, in addition to Saturday farm store duties on a rotational schedule. Depending on the season and the day’s workload, we typically start work at 8am or 7am, and take a lunch break of 1 or 2 hours. Everyone is expected to take a turn preparing lunch for the rest of team, and we usually call it quits for the day around 6 or 7pm. Some tasks may exceed normal work hours such as animal chores and garden irrigation duties.


In exchange for a commitment to a full season, a dedicated work attitude and an eagerness to learn, we offer a weekly stipend, a room in our house or camper/trailer, farm produce, farm meat and eggs, and basic groceries. It is very important to the farm’s operation that interns complete their season, so please take this commitment seriously. In return, we will take the time to train you on various tasks and tools as they evolve through the seasons, provide access to a library of books, take you on monthly visits to neighbouring farms and spend time answering your questions and  explaining how we plan and manage our operation. To show our appreciation and to help you on the next step of your journey you will be awarded a $400 end of season bonus. Our weekly stipend can vary depending on your prior farming experience. Please contact us for more information.


Ideally, full season interns live at the farm. You will have your own private bedroom, or your own camper/trailer, as well as access to wireless internet, laundry, canoe (we’re on the Ottawa river), bicycle, walking trails, beach… We will be sharing the house kitchen, but you are encouraged to use the summer kitchen outside during the warm parts of the year. Please be prepared to participate in house cleaning chores.

How to apply:

Write a few paragraphs about the reasons why you want to join the farm crew and what you feel you have to bring to it. Send it along with any questions to: info(at)riverglenfarm.ca

This is a single weblog entry, posted on February 10th, 2015. 1 Comment »


Biodynamic Education in Ottawa

Rosemary Tayler will be teaching Introduction to Biodynamics at Riverglen Farm outside of Ottawa. Running one Sunday a month from April until November, this active learning program focuses on biodynamic principles with practical hands-on experience and innovative projects. David Burnford from Riverglen Farm and Hammo Hammond, both experienced biodynamic farmers, will also be attending these sessions.

For more information or to register, visit http://earthhaven.ca/intro-to-biodynamics-in-ottawa-ontario.php

Who is Teaching? Rosemary Tayler has a background in Education (BSc) in both pure science (MSc) and alternative medicine, in particular, homeopathy. For the past six years, she has studied and applied biodynamic and homeopathic learning to farming and gardening. Under the guidance and mentorship of several biodynamic teachers and the Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario, Rosemary compiled and taught this course in 2013 together with Kathryn of Earth Haven Farm near Tweed.

Course Fee: $495 (no refunds after first class)
Textbooks: $40.00 + course fee. Purchase on your own or borrow.
Housekeeping: Bring your own lunch, plate, cup and cutlery.
Course Mentor: Hamo Hammond and David Burnford
Teacher: Rosemary Tayler
Registration & Car pools:
Contact Rosemary Tayler, Ottawa, 613-237-4777

Course Curriculum
April 27 – A Look at the Life and Times of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
May 11 – Exploring the Character of Your Farm or Garden
June 8 – The Big Picture: The Cosmos and Life Forces
June 29 – Soil Science
July 27 – Timing is Everything
August 17 – The Four Elements
September 14 – The Value of Compost
October 5 – BD Preparations
October 26 – Food Vitality – Putting It All Together
November 23 – Ourselves and Each Other

Prerequisite: Students must have previous farming or gardening experience.

Course Textbooks: Agriculture, by Rudolf Steiner.
Stella Natura Biodynamic Planting Calendar 2014

Riverglen Farm Is a working biodynamic farm is located in the west Ottawa green belt between Bells Corners and Kanata, at 230 Davidson’s Side Road, Ottawa.

Directions: Coming from the Queensway, exit onto Moodie
Drive and proceed north to Carling Ave. Turn left (west) onto
Carling, then proceed 2-3 kilometers and turn right (north)
onto Davidson’s Side Road.

For further information contact:
Rosemary Tayler at 613-237-4777
David Burnford at info@riverglenfarm.ca / 613-721-7063
www.biodynamics.on.ca and www.riverglenfarm.ca

This is a single weblog entry, posted on March 24th, 2014. Comment here »


Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario Holds it’s AGM

AGM in Armow Saturday April 5

Date: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Time: 9:00am to 5:00 pm
Place: Armow Community Centre
810 Concession 7 Kincardine
(junction of sideroad 15)
Armow, Ontario

The morning program is dedicated to election of officers and reports from various committees. After our business in the morning, we will feature Jodi Koberinski of the Organic Council of Ontario. Jodi travelled to India last year to visit Vandana Shiva at her Seed Saving Conference, and visited local farms, including biodynamic operations. Regarding her slide presentation, Jodi wrote:

“In 2012, I was invited by Dr. Vandana Shiva to take part in the Bhoomi Conference at the Navdanya Institute- a seed saving farm and centre for education in Dehra Dun, India. As part of the course work following the October 2012 conference, a group of international students traveled to a biodynamic mango farm in India to learn about biodynamic approaches in indian agriculture. I will bring slides and stories from my trip, as well as information from colleagues I met on the farms in India. My background is in policy and food processing and marketing, and my presentation will centre on my perspectives as a consumer and advocate, rather than as an agronomist or practicing farmer.”

Jodi’s presentation will be followed by lunch, generously provided by the Hack families. We are asked to bring a dessert or a salad to go with homemade soup and bread. It would be nice for everyone to bring their own dishes and cutlery.The cost of the lunch is by donation.
In the afternoon, Chris Boettcher will present the latest trends out of Europe in biodynamic practices. The AGM will be a great forum to share your own on-farm experiences, and to hear about those of other members. Very thought-provoking, and sure to create food for discussion.
Preparations will be available at this meeting, for a donation. We are blessed to have dedicated prep makers who come together as communities to make the preparations in a consciously reverent manner, so that we who garden and farm biodynamically can carry out our work of partnering with the Earth. Please remember the sacredness of the preparations and the generosity of all the kingdoms when you make your donation. A tax receipt will be issued for donations of $20.00 or more.

This is a single weblog entry, posted on March 24th, 2014. Comment here »