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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Destination: Plan B Organic Farm

Through my volunteering at Alpha II Alternative school, I finally had a wonderful opportunity to go with the students to their yearly visit to Plan B Organic Farm.

I was pretty hyped about this trip since it was something of a very important connection for me.  I needed to see for myself personally what a real working organic farm looks like.  Having one so close to the city really hits home the fact that we can have sustainable food sources locally and organic.

One of the first things that struck me is the way the farm is.  Its not your typical vast track of organized rows of plants and produce.  In fact it literally was quite an organic layout.  One of the owners of the farm Alvaro took us on a guided tour and showed us the benefits of all the key trees, plants and organisms that contribute to the richness of the soil.  What really struck me was the natural approach of letting nature balance itself in terms of soil conditions.  So much of the traditional farming is spent shaping land and chemically forcing it to be harvesting environment.  Here at Plan B Alvaro carefully balances all living things to contribute to the overall health of the soil and thereby producing organic food so close to Toronto!

One of the most stunning aspects of the tour was the organic shiitake grove.  Nestled in the heart of a patch of coniferous trees, they used felled logs with spore plugs.  It was truly a sight to behold as the forest gave off a quiet richness that one simply had to be there to experience it.  I had a chance find a fresh shiitake that missed the initial harvest and we all had a chance to try garlic, shiitake and other organic produce straight from the ground!

(left) - One of the few shiitakes that missed the last harvest. Om nom! You can literally eat them straight off the tree stump!

(right) - Our host, Farmer Alvaro shows us how the spores and cultured into natural and completely organic shiitake mushrooms

Organic Shiitake mushroom harvest in the making!

My trip buddy Evie gives a thumbs up to the organic garlic, shiitake and catnip we got to take home.  

A really big thank you goes out to Alvaro for giving us and especially myself an opportunity to see first hand organic farming at its finest.  Thank you too to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment for funding the trip and Alpha II Alternative school for once again giving me the opportunity to volunteer and learn right along with the students.

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