YYC Farm Series: Little Loaves Farm

By | June 13, 2017

Just northwest of Sundrie, in a scenic wooded area, is Little Loaves Farm. Little Loaves Farm is Jerremie and Rita Clyde’s four-year development project. This mixed farm produces a diverse array of crops, including vegetables and grains, and is also home to a yak herd. Varieties of grains include oats, rye and even rice, while the market garden includes primarily potatoes and peas so the Clyde’s can focus on rebuilding soil health and preparing the site with fences and infrastructure. Jerremie aims to diversify as much as possible on the farm; greater variety and biodiversity means increased resiliency for the ecosystem.

Jerremie aims to increase both the breadth and dept of biodiversity on their land. He hopes to have a conservation group come annually to assess the populations and variety of species that inhabit the farm site. Having a record of species and their populations over a decade will indicate growth and development of the ecosystem. Having access to this information would be very exciting for Jerremie. Agricultural productivity is only part of the goal at Little Loaves. This farm aims to exemplify true stewardship of the land.

This kind of stewardship also involves managing environmental impacts, thinking of the farm ecosystem as a whole and practicing sustainable animal management. This includes selecting animals based on how they impact the environment. Yaks, for example, are arguably more efficient than cattle. They are smaller and require less feed. Their grazing habits and smaller stature don’t damage the soil in the same way either. (Cattle have the potential to be very detrimental to soil quality -- their weight and grazing behaviour can lead to severe soil compaction if poorly managed). Moreover, yaks they can be a source of meat, milk and warm woolly fibre. Despite these calculated choices, some neighbours find the idea of raising yaks shocking.

This just goes to show that a lot of ideas around farming are still very traditional, passed down from generation to generation. However, with increased changes to our environment, and with information more readily available, we have to adapt and diversify. Little Loaves Farm is certainly trail blazing in this regard and working towards the truest form of sustainable agriculture.

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