Roots and Shoots Farm is a small-scale, organic vegetable farm that works to improve our local food system while inspiring our customers to explore the wonders of seasonal produce. We are located in Ste. Cecile de Masham, close to Wakefield in Quebec, 30 minutes from Ottawa.
In 2012, Roots and Shoots Farm attained certified organic status through EcoCert Canada. In Canada, all certifiers have to meet the National Organic Standards established in 2009. These standards are available on the web here. Although we meet almost every one of our customers face to face on a weekly basis, and despite the fact that any one of our customers is welcome to visit the farm to see how we grow, we still feel it is very important to support the organic standards by becoming certified our selves.
This is because Certified Organic means so much more than just what the consumer sees when buying the product. Certified Organic farms are required to not only keep extremely accurate record keeping of everything that comes in and goes out of the farm, but also ensures that we follow strict standards about:
following a sensible, planned, multi-year rotation to break insect and disease cycles on the farm
following a composting regime complete with daily temperature recording
limiting the amounts of manure brought in from other farms
encouraging the integration of animals to make the farm self sufficient
using cover crops every year in every field to build organic matter and fertility
using only substances on the “Permitted Substances List”, which prohibits any synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides on the farm
recording every seed purchase, buying only certified organic seed, and showing proof that organic seed was adequately sought out if it was not available, and never using treated or genetically modified seed
protecting waterways and wetlands from farm runoff
requiring that animals have access to free ranging space that is out of doors
In the end, there are many aspects to Certified Organic that are not obvious from reading a label on a Certified Organic product. Certified Organic protects not only the health of the consumer, but also the health of the farmer, the ecosystems that produce the food, the waterways on the farm, and the biodiversity of the farm. It is for this reason that Roots and Shoots Farm supports and adheres to Certified Organic standards.
Jess has been farming for her entire life. Driving tractors, plucking chickens, and showing cows were part of a rich, rural childhood that established an appreciation for fresh air, bare feet and close food.
Jess manages all the crop planning, crop rotations and seeding at Roots and Shoots Farm. She also finds time to grow our organic flowers.
Jessica graduated from St. Stephen’s University in 2008 with a degree in History and Literature.
Co-owner & Farm Manager
Robin spent his twenties travelling in Asia and teaching English before finally deciding to return to University to study environmental science.
While at UBC he was forcefully exposed to core agriculture curriculum, which made him realize that food is the main way humanity explores its connection with the natural environment. He got a job on a farm that summer. Two years after that he got his first taste of organic vegetable farming, and has never looked back.
Robin has worked on and managed organic vegetable farms in Montreal, Boston, and Ottawa since 2004. He holds a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of British Columbia.