Curious about sustainable agriculture?
Learn about how agricultural practices can be sustainable from one of Evergreen's Farmers Market vendors - Joyfully Organic Farm.
Published on April 11, 2022
According to the United Nations, the world’s population is expected to grow from 7.9 billion as of April 2022 to 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. With population growth rising at unprecedented rates, globally we are faced with the challenge of maintaining food security without severely impacting the environment.
Agriculture can place significant pressures on the natural environment through human activities such as the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, the overconsumption of water, and the use of gasoline powered machinery resulting in the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In recent years, efforts have been made around the world to transition to more sustainable agricultural practices.
The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet the food needs of present populations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This month, we chatted with Liz and Matt from Joyfully Organic Farm, one of Evergreen’s Farmers Market vendors, about their farm and how their agricultural practices are sustainable in nature.
How did you get started in farming?
Liz and Matt, the hands and hearts that started Joyfully Organic Farm, began with nothing but an earnest passion for nature, hard work, building community, and creating change. They were drawn to farming as it encompassed everything that they were passionate about and it was a real way for them to work at making a difference in their community. More than ten years ago, they sought out to get their first farming jobs and they haven’t been able to shake ‘the farming bug’ since.
In the early years, they studied respected farms, worked under mentors, and researched the best and most successful methods for organic vegetable production. Today, Joyfully Organic Farm, located in Markham, Ontario, has become the best demonstration of everything that Liz and Matt believe in. While their average day is filled with planting tomatoes, weeding arugula, and harvesting squash, they believe that each day plays an important part in their vision - a vision of creating an agriculture model that is focused on community and building direct relationships with the people that they feed.
Can you tell us about your agricultural practices?
Joyfully Organic Farm’s agricultural practices stand upon two pillars: soil stewardship and organic farming practices.
Liz and Matt believe that soil stewardship is the foundation of everything, from the viability of the farm to the vitality of their food. They believe that taste, nutrition, and farm resiliency all highly depend on soil. Their overall goal is to be excellent stewards of their land and they have seen the results of diligent soil stewardship in the flavours and vibrance of their food.
Organic Farming Practices
Joyfully Organic Farm is proudly Certified Local Organic by Pro-Cert Canada. Organic farming is a type of agriculture that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers derived primarily from plant and animal wastes.
Liz and Matt want their customers to know that eating at their farm comes with a guarantee that the food is grown with practices that protect both their health and the health of the environment.
Why is sustainable agriculture so important?
A shift in agricultural practices has the profound potential to address some of our biggest environmental concerns across the globe.
Sustainable agriculture is a means of producing food that contributes to, rather than detracts from, ecosystem health. Their farming techniques are sustainable in nature as they rebuild soil organic matter, sequester carbon, and optimize climate remediation. This is done through the building up of topsoil, the use of cover crops so that the soil never sits bare, reduced tillage, and rotational crop plans.