Principles & Practices

We’ve put a lot of thought into the principles that guide our operations. Here are some of the practices and principles we live by as a business:

  1. Beyond organic, beyond sustainable.

Sustainability isn’t enough. In order to survive and thrive in the coming decades we need to actively restore ecosystem functions and repair the legacies of human and environmental violence wrought by colonial and capitalist modes of production.

We need to go way beyond where we are right now in terms of fostering biodiversity, carbon sequestration and cycling, and building the productivity of the land.

We need to go further, too, in terms of building local food-security and fostering community resilience. Buying organic produce from California is just not going to cut it. We need to gather our communities together and focus our efforts on (re)-creating local food systems that serve and benefit all of us – and not just international agri-food corporations.

While we respect and appreciate formalized organic standards, “organic” doesn’t always mean ecologically sensible or sustainable, let alone restorative. We use organic standards as a baseline, and aim to go well beyond that in terms of animal care, nutrient use, and land management

All of the grain based feed we bring onto the farm for our animals is certified organic, we never use pesticides, herbicides, or other noxious chemicals, and our animals are housed with more space and amenities than mandated by organic standards. We invite you to come and see for yourself!

  1. Verifiably regenerative.

What is “regenerative agriculture” anyway?

In our view, an agricultural practice or enterprise is regenerative if it:

  1. Builds soil organic matter (topsoil).
  2. Increases soil fertility / forage production / carrying capacity.
  3. Increases biodiversity: insect, bird, plant, animal.
  4. Sequesters carbon.
  5. Improves the hydrological function of the landscape.
  6. Builds resilience to shocks.

Click here to learn more.  

  1. Focused on animal care and ethics.

We at Evermeadow prioritize the well-being of animals and ensure that they are treated with care and respect. This includes providing them with a species appropriate, natural diet, and giving them plenty of space to express their instinctual behaviours.  

We always exceed organic standards for space and room to roam, and we rotate all of our animals frequently to ensure they stay away from their own manure.

We also minimize stress at handling and slaughter times, both for animal well-being and for the quality of the final product.

At Evermeadow, animals are not simply commodities;  they are partners in the process of restoring eco-system well-being.  This requires an animal-welfare centered approach that prioritizes the needs of the animals so that they can continue to contribute positively to the landscape and the community. 

  1. Financial viability and well-being.

Regenerative agriculture must be financially viable in the long term, and it requires a commitment to long-term land management practices. Part this long-term thinking is building lasting relationships with our customers, staff, and broader community. 

We are a committed living wage employer, and we never use unpaid or underpaid labor. We charge appropriate prices to cover our costs and grow the business, while making every effort to make our products as affordable as possible. Success in the long term means we can’t be dependent on government grants or loans.

We are also actively working with researchers from Ivey Business School to help develop modalities for compensating farmers for ecosystem services benefits, which are tangible but have long been unaccounted for in our profit-driven economic system.

5. Regulatory compliance and biosecurity.

Regenerative agriculture should comply with all relevant regulations, including those related to food safety and animal welfare. Biosecurity is also important as it helps to prevent the spread of diseases and pests, such as avian flu. We pride ourselves on meeting all requirements from OMAFRA and the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) with respect to the care, handling, and storage of both animals and food products. We are proud to be a part of Ontario’s safe and healthy food system.

6. Dedicated to community.

We are dedicated to serving and benefiting our local community. 

We support our fellow farmers and local small businesses and return the proceeds of our business back into the community by buying our inputs locally wherever possible.  We participate in educational events such as ecological farm conferences and the Cultivate Festival. We offer farm tours, workshops, and day camps to engage people of all ages in learning about food production and the promise of ecologically restorative agriculture. 

We want to create a food system that is equitable and accessible to all members of the community – not just those with the means to pay for premium products.  As such, we are developing a mutual aid program to help ensure our products are accessible to as many members of our community as possible. Additionally, we donate product every year to our regional food banks.