Sept 19 – Open Farm Day at Bear River Farms contact Tilo or Saskia 467-041

photo by Gordon Delaney, Chronicle Herald.

10:00 am to 5:00 pm

For the third time, we would like to open our doors to the public.

Bear River Farms is the first Demeter Certified Biodynamic Farm in the Atlantic Provinces.

At Open Farm Day you can join one of the guided farm tours over the fields and you will see our livestock, the fields, the moveable Chicken Chalet and the new Bovine Palace.

Further you will get brief information about biodynamic farming practices and the Bear River Farms Sustainable Agri-Cultural Co-Operative.

Of course there will be snacks and refreshments available all day long.

Enjoy your Open Farm Day 2010 with your Friends and your Family at Bear River Farms.

Directions: take Hwy 101 to Exit 23 (not 23a) and follow the signs.

reprinted from the Chronicle Herald, September 9, 2010
WALDECK — Tilo and Saskia Kolass may have a solution to the dearth of young farmers in Nova Scotia.

The young couple has transformed their sprawling farm in Waldeck, Annapolis County, into the province’s first biodynamic farm co-operative.

What does that mean exactly?

It means that consumers of products from their newly formed Bear River Agricultural Co-operative may now buy into the farm, through investor or farm-worker shares, making the members part owners or co-producers.

“We have to do things differently,” Tilo Kolass, 35, said in an interview at his 100-hectare farm, a short drive from Bear River.

“It’s the only way I see farming making sense in the future.”

Shareholders in the co-op will help finance the farm’s daily operation and can get involved in the day-to-day work. In return, they will have voting shares and access to a wide variety of fresh, organically grown farm products, from eggs to poultry to freshly baked bread.

The goal is to sign up 50 members in the first year, beginning in October.

“Ideally, 50 members would be great for us,” said Kolass, a certified biodynamic farmer. “We break even after that number.”

Biodynamic farming is a step up from organic farming and is popular in Europe, especially in Germany. It is an age-old agricultural movement based on the soil, plants, animals and farmers working together in a closed cycle, according to the teachings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

The founder of the Waldorf school system, Steiner viewed the farm as a living organism, where all activities are interconnected.

Biodynamic farmers rely on special preparations to improve soil and plant quality, including cow horn manure, flowers and animal parts, along with a silicone treatment made from ground quartz. All animals are free-range and the closed system means the farm is self-sufficient, with all seed and animal feed grown on the farm.

The couple has become well known in the area, for their freshly baked bread, which Saskia, 27, bakes from their own grain and sells at local farm markets four days a week.

She and her husband studied the Waldorf system in Germany. Her father built the country’s third Waldorf school and was Steiner’s friend.

They are hoping to make their farm co-op a model for others, during a time when young people are leaving the family farm in droves.

More information may be found on the Bear River Farms website at http://brfarm.com

The farm will also open to visitors on Sept. 19, the province’s annual Open Farm Day. Last year, the farm had 350 visitors.

( gdelaney@herald.ca)

‘It’s the only way I see farming making sense in the future’

Biodynamic farmer

TILO KOLASS

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