North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program > Participating Mentor Farms

Golden Elm Farm has been a home for many people from around the world throughout the years. It was established by a family dedicated to biodynamic agriculture, Waldorf education, homeopathic medicine and a holistic way of life. It is therefore an educational center as well as being a farm. Young Waldorf School students often spend time with us as part of their agricultural schooling. We host Waldorf classes and facilitate workshops and educational activities on the farm. A Children’s Garden was established in Spring 2007 and we have been members of WWOOF- Canada since the 80s. We have a large resource library and seek to continue educating ourselves as to better serve the community and the world. We are located close to Georgian Bay/Lake Huron and a 1000 acre wetland called Tiny Marsh. There is an abundance of wildlife, yet we are within 30 minutes of four municipalities. This area is called Huronia after the Native people who lived here.

Golden Elm Farm was certified biodynamic for ten years (1991- 2001). At present we strive to continue following the biodynamic standards. We make some preparations and cultivate most of the herbs required. We fill horns in September and make Valerian blossom extract in summer. The animal manure is piled, treated and composted before being used in the gardens and fields so as to prevent parasite problems. Preparation 500 is used mostly in the Spring but also for planting trees, etc. We use homeopathic medicine on our animals when needed. We are drug free and vaccine free. We strive for health and prevention with our animals and ourselves. I am always willing to share my experience and knowledge in this regard with others.

Size of farm: Two farm properties of 87 and 91 acres worked together.

Diversity of produce and livestock: We are a mixed farm with Brown Swiss dairy animals, Dorset sheep and several goats, Rhode Island Red laying hens, and Peking ducks. There are apple trees and we cultivate a vegetable garden every summer. We sell our own veal and ducks, eggs, apples and vegetables. We make butter and yogurt from the surplus milk, apple juice and apple sauce in the fall, and process vegetables when there are surpluses.

Apprenticeship details: Students and apprentices are incorporated into our dairy farm routine: feeding animals, working in the garden, trimming fencerows, building and repairing machinery, making meals. There are days off given and afternoon swims when hot, as the beach is close. There are chances to learn as the questions arise during the activities but formal sessions are also created for learning about soil, plants, animals and farm planning. Apprentices are accommodated in the farm house with meals available unless they wish to make other arrangements.

Skills that can be learned: See Golden Elm Farm's Skills Checklists (pdf)

Mentor Farmer: Charlotte Chambers

Address: 4215 Crossland Rd., Tiny, ON L0L 1P1

Phone: (705) 322-0165