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Thank You for visiting us online and Thank You for supporting us and other small, ecological farms!
Thistlecroft is an earth-friendly farm in the Kawartha-Trent Lakes region of Ontario.
We specialize in seasonal produce, small-scale meat production and handmade goods; producing whatever nature, the land and the climate allows.
We farm using ecological methods and care for our animals with a focus on their comfort, welfare and well-being. We strive to grow food that is nutrient-dense and flavourful without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and artificial fertilizers.
Thank You for visiting us online and we hope to see you at the farm!
Thistlecroft is more than just a farm; we would like to think of it as an experiment in living and being. We do our best to cycle materials, nutrients and energy through our land and activities before they eventually leave our little corner of the world. Nothing is wasted - from baling twine to egg cartons, sheepskins to sheep poo, slabwood from milling to sheared wool; all will be used or made into soil.
Over the years we have tried many different methods, techniques, practices and systems - from permaculture to biodynamic, edible forest gardens to silvopasture, polyculture/companion planting to rotational grazing. But overall, we found it was best to listen to the land, the plants and to all the animals (below and above ground) as they change their relationships with each other and with us, the human animal, over the seasons and over the years. We are open to all nature and life-friendly farming and gardening methods especially if they match our guiding principle which is to be gentle and to be humble - like humus, which shares the root of human.
Our main ethic is: HONOUR PLACE, RESPECT LIMITS.
+ Honour Life, Especially the Ones You Eat
+ Honour Death
+ Honour All Relations and the Interrelatedness of Life
+ Honour and Cultivate Diversity
+ Honour Beauty and Magic
+ Be Thankful and Always Give Thanks
+ Honour and Celebrate Place
+ Feed Soil = Feed Life = Feed Soul
+ Don't own a Place, Belong to a Place
+ Work with Place, Not against Place
+ Respect the Cycles of Life
+ Respect Self
+ Respect the Known and Unknown
+ Do what you should, not because you could
+ Stop if necessary
+ Human Limits: Work, Money, Space
+ Limitless: Love, Compassion, Learning, and Fun!
Croft is a Scottish term for a small farm which may be rented or owned by the 'crofter', often in the north of Scotland which traditionally raised sheep and cattle. The average size of a croft is around 5 hectares (12 acres) but some are smaller or much larger.
Thistles make up a group of flowering plants in the Aster Family (Asteraceae) characterized by sharp prickles on the leaves, stems and/or flowers of the plant. The most common types of thistles found at Thistlecroft are bull thistles, sow thistles and blessed thistles.
Thistles seeds are grown and sold commercially as Nyjer seed in bird seed mixes which attract finches. We have seen this for ourselves as we watch acrobatic golden finches eating the seeds right off the plant! The thistle is also the national emblem of Scotland.
Thistlecroft - a small farm with thistles, describes what our land grows and is also an apt metaphor of our relationship to farming. Thistles are symbolically associated with protection and this is how we see our roles as 'crofters': to protect the land, animals and plants we share this space with. Ultimately it is the land that protects us all and hence why we need to respect and nurture the land and all its inhabitants big and small.
We find thistles to be very pretty but they can be quite prickly! In this regard, thistles are like our relationship with nature: to truly grasp the beauty of nature, one must not only admire the flowers but to also appreciate the thorns.
Lastly, we also like how similar the word 'croft' is to 'craft' as we believe that farming is a type of craft. To farm well is to learn; it is to work with your hands to cultivate the land and the self. We also practice other types of handicrafts which compliments our farming and what the land provides us to use and enjoy.
Thistlecroft is located in Central Ontario, a place inhabited by First Peoples since the retreat of the Great Ice Sheet, approximately 10,000 years ago. Today, this region is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg, and remains the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg of Alderville First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Scugog Island First Nation and the Chippewas of Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation and the Rama First Nation that are all signatories to the Williams Treaty (1928) and Treaty 20 (1818). These treaties include a promise to the people of the Michi Saagiig Nations that in exchange for settlers use of land, the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg will retain their rights to fish, hunt, harvest, and propagate crops, including wild plants such as Manoomin (wild rice).
In honour of these treaties, Thistlecroft extends respect and gratitude to the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg, and pledges to care for this land so Mother Nature may continue to nurture life into perpetuity. Miigwech, salamat po ko, hm-goi, xie-xie, gracias, merci, and thank you!
River and Ali
This acknowledgement was written with information provided by multiple sources, notably:
Gidigaa Migizi (Doug Williams) in his book Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg: This is Our Territory
The Truth and Reconciliation Community, Bobcaygeon.
Williams Treaties First Nations