Wildwood Farm, located near Pouce Coupe, in the Peace River District is owned and operated by Linda and Tim Ewert. Their region mostly consists of extensive grain growing and ranching, making their farm atypical for the area. They are diversified, rather than specialized in one crop and integrate livestock, cropping, and gardening on their farm. At Wildwood Farm, they focus on farming in ways that contribute positively to the land and build healthy ecosystems on their farm. They adopt climate-friendly practices, one being the use of energy systems that are alternatives to fossil fuels. The Ewert’s rely on draft horses to do much of their harder work, rather than relying on fuel-powered tractors. A more traditional approach is a good way to reduce tractor use and integrate animals into the farm system. The Ewert’s’ give us insight into their farming practices and their adoption of climate-friendly techniques to farming. Read what they have to say below.
Photo by Wildwood Farm
“We came to this area as a young couple with two babies to build our own farm from scratch. We had very little money but lots of energy and big dreams for a beautiful, sustainable, and healthy farm where we could raise our family and live in a place that still had natural wild areas.”
“We have tried to farm in an ecologically sound and sustainable way, believing that we must be careful not to remove more than we return. We currently raise grass-fed cows, pastured pigs, and free-range chickens for eggs. We milk a cow and grow annual and perennial gardens for our fruits and vegetables. In trying to keep nutrient and life cycles continuous on our farm, we grow the grain for the pigs and chickens on-farm and grind some of it into flour for ourselves. The hay that our cows and horses require in the winters is from Wildwood pastures. We have a small apiary to add a touch more sweetness to the farm.”
“Over the years, we worked to realize our dream of using draft horses for as much of our mechanized work as possible. This has reduced our fuel consumption significantly, and we have the resulting rich source of fertilizer. Working with horses has helped keep us grounded to the land by setting a non-industrial pace. We have used our draft horses for many tasks over the years. We used four horses for heavy fieldwork, such as plowing, discing, and harrowing; two horses for mowing, raking and hauling hay and straw; two for grinding and elevating grain by powering “horsepower”; two to haul firewood in winter with a bobsleigh; two to haul and spread compost onto the fields; two to seed grain with a seed drill; one or two to skid logs out of the bush, and we found one horse to work extremely well in our market garden to till between rows, and to pull a stoneboat or cart with tools and produce. Moving electric fences is a more pleasant job when a horse can help by carrying the fence builder and supplies out to the field. By using our horses for these jobs, we do not have to start any engines or burn any fuel—not to mention the joy of being able to work without the constant noise and smell of a tractor.”
“As both the human team and the horse team are getting older, we are now only working two horses—singly or together. Our hope for the future of the farm is that we will see younger teamsters driving four horses in the fields again. On our farm, our buildings are supplied by gravity-fed water lines from a water pond on higher ground. When we cannot make use of gravity we use a solar-powered water pump. We heat our house and do our cooking using firewood from our forested land. We believe that we are all responsible for the care of the earth. We try to find ways to reduce our driving and our use of fossil fuels for doing work that can be done in other ways.” Watch their draft horses in action below!
This video was generously provided to us by Wildwood Farm. FarmFolk CityFolk was not responsible for the creation of this video.