In early June, just as Market season was kicking off, Naomi Martz of Four Beat Farm agreed to add ONE MORE task to her long long to-do list, and instagrammed for us for the week. Naomi is three seasons in to running a predominantly horse and human powered certified organic mixed vegetable farm, but, just to clarify, she’s not a “horse-farmer.” No horses are consumed as end products in her horse-friendly process. Using a horse-drawn cultivator, says Martz, takes a bit of patience and precision, “but it does a pretty nifty job, is quicker than hand weeding and quieter than a tractor.” And, from when she finishes her cup of tea and head out the door to getting the two of them haltered, brushed, harnessed, bridled, and hitched up to work it takes an average of 8 minutes.
Four Beat Farm also uses biodynamic practices – the goal of biodynamism could be summarized as honouring the soil. For Naomi, it means, “thinking about the mineral and nutrient levels needed to grow a good crop, but also paying attention to the life of the soil, the energy and happiness of people working the land, and trying to build systems that are regenerative and renewable.”
Regenerative organic agriculture has been called out as a path forward, with the potential to reverse climate change. So props to Naomi, for not only growing beautiful food that is available at the market today, but for also rolling up her sleeves to change the world.
Here’s a recap of her week.
For more, follow Naomi at fourbeatfarm.
Happy Monday! Very honoured to be doing an Insta-takeover for the week for a glimpse into life here at Four Beat Farm. We are a certified organic mixed vegetable farm in its third growing season out the Meadows Road and, well, needless to say that life is incredibly full this time of year. You may catch a glimpse of me (Naomi) at the farmers market on Fridays or Keisha (the farm dog) when we take a moment to rejuvenate and play fetch at the lake, but mostly this time of year we are in the fields. Some days we have many hands helping and some days we are a one-human operation (with two draft horse co-workers who literally pull their weight) supported by an incredible community of friends and neighbours, eaters and growers, who make it possible to live, eat, work and play locally throughout the seasons. @fourbeatfarm
Today's @fourbeatfarm farm crew included Georgia (an expert compost shoveler who also happens to be an experienced horsewoman) and our friend Lindsay even stopped by for a visit and got to try his hand at sowing rutabaga and kohlrabi for fall harvest. Of course I forgot to remember to take a photo of them hard at work, but here's a little video taken by Georgia this morning as the horses and I cultivate leeks. Using a horse drawn cultivator can take a bit of patience and precision, but it does a pretty nifty job and sure is quicker than hand weeding and quieter than a tractor. #horsepoweredfarming #poweredbypasture #pembylife
Spreading compost this morning @fourbeatfarm. Along with being certified organic, we also use biodynamic practices and preparations on the farm. To me, this means not only thinking about mineral and nutrient levels needed to grow a good crop, but also paying attention to the life of the soil, the energy and happiness of people working the land, and trying to build systems that are regenerative and renewable. It also means constantly looking for ways to learn and improve. One thing that I love about living in Pemberton is the incredible amount of agricultural tradition and innovation that can be found in our community. It is easy to stay inspired when you are surrounded by dozens of farmers all outstanding in their fields.
Feeling fortunate to be getting some good soaking rain this week before the summer heat rolls in. There is always so much to be done at ground level that it is easy to go the whole morning transplanting, weeding, or harvesting without remembering to look up and appreciate this place. Here's two views from today when I took an insta-break from weeding arugula. While we do grow some spring salad greens and early offerings for the @pembyfarmersmarket (more about that on Friday), the majority of our crops are destined for summer and fall harvest and in their early stages of growth this time of year. Because using a horsedrawn cultivation system is effective and efficient for most of the veg that we grow, we tend to use less plastic and fabric mulches and have relatively long rows compared to many vegetable farms who are growing on a similar scale. So many plants to grow! So many ways to grow good food well! Can you tell that the rain is refreshing and rejuvenating for both the farmer and the fields here @fourbeatfarm? #bioextensivefarming #alltheveggies #rainydayvibes #allthefun
Having work animals on the farm definitely adds a certain rhythm to the day, especially in the spring when the horses are hitched up most mornings of the week and then get the afternoon to themselves while I work on other vegetable-related tasks. While it does take an extra few minutes to get ready for fieldwork compared to turning the key on a tractor, I find that it keeps me grounded through a morning routine. Also, in case you're curious, from when I finish my cup of tea and head out the door to getting the two of them haltered, brushed, harnessed, bridled, and hitched up to work it takes an average of 8 minutes. We can certainly do it faster, but as most of us know rushing through your morning coffee or yoga or crossword puzzle rarely seems to make anyone more productive in the long run.
Thanks for a great market day, Pemberton! Today a market-goer asked me if I was the "horse farmer". Nope, we don't grow horses @fourbeatfarm, but the horses do grow vegetables and the proof is in the picture. Not only do I love market days as it means getting veggies into the fridges of people who want them, but it also means I get to catch up with friends in town and stock up on groceries for the week including bread from Birken House Bakery and eggs and meat from @spraycreekranch. Yum! #keepitlocal #community
Just a little Sunday shoutout to fathers and to family! All of my immediate family lives in other pockets of BC, but they are always willing to come up to the farm for a visit and lend a hand. It seems like there's a lot of talk these days, particularly in the farming community, about some of the challenges of being a first-generation farmer, such as access to farmland and the transfer of skills and knowledge through generations. These may be important topics when talking about food security and agriculture as a whole, but personally I feel pretty darn fortunate to have a family that has given me the support and freedom to branch out and try my hand at a career that I am 100% passionate about. Also, my dad is a professional computer whiz and between helping run the farm website and having a much more meticulous approach to construction projects than I could ever dream of, we seem to have our own style of "family farming" going on @fourbeatfarm.