A sustainable agriculture is one which depletes neither the people nor the land.

Wendell Berry

NOVEMBER 16, 2022 — In 2019, Nature NB along with 14 other partners – including NGOs, Indigenous Nations, government agencies, and academic partners – formed an initiative called Species at Risk Partnerships in Agricultural Landscapes (SARPAL). In the three years since, we have formed a conservation plan for Species at Risk (SAR) in agricultural areas of the Wolastoq river watershed in New Brunswick to set the course for positive actions for SAR in the Wolastoq watershed for years to come.

At the end of October the SARPAL team set out to visit a farm that is conducting sustainable agricultural practices for the first time. Located in Centerville, Local Valley Beef Farm is owned and operated by Cedric MacLeod, a SARPAL team member. The farming practices conducted on this farm are “traditional, yet sustainable”.

With the sun shining brightly and a north wind hinting at the snow that would soon be covering the ground, our team gathered, coming from all corners of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Upon arrival, warm coffee and snacks were provided for those who had early morning drives and for the first time since this project began in 2019, we all met in person.

This fascinating experience was unlike any other that I have ever taken part in. As there was over 100 acres to cover, Cedric’s team had prepared a farm appropriate (and very on-theme) way to travel: straw bails on a trailer. We all loaded onto the trailer and were off for the day.

The trailer was a fun method of transportation as we passed pasture after pasture. The well-maintained dirt road led to different sites on the farm including a gravel pit, a woodlot, a corral, a cedar grove, and a solar powered station for fencing and water. With frequent stops to provide a description of each infrastructure, our group was able to see our SARPAL project in action. From rotational grazing to the implementation of strong soil-health and wellness practices, the Local Valley Beef Farm is a perfect example of what the SARPAL project is looking to achieve.

We took a break for lunch and were offered a wonderful meal from Local Valley Beef. We truly experienced what “farm to table” means with a meal of delicious beef hamburgers worthy of a five-star restaurant.

Before long we were on the move again to visit the furthest sites, reserved for sustainable haying and forest management. As the day drew to a close, we all jumped back into our cars to get to our last location: a dedicated Bobolink site (a SAR in New Brunswick). Cedric’s farm is not only able to hay this field, but they also allow Bobolink to fledge; a not-so-common farming practice.

With our day adjourned, we said our goodbyes with full bellies and the knowledge that ethical and sustainable farming practices are possible in New Brunswick.

If you are interested in knowing more about the SARPAL project, check out our webpage. For more information about Local Valley Beef, visit www.localvalleybeef.ca.

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