There are generally four ways of visiting First Nature Farms:
– the Sunday visit
– visitors through the WWOOF program
– Apprenticeship Training
– Annual Ranch Barbecue
Due to all the activities that take place on First Nature Farms, we require that visitors please contact us in advance.
The Sunday Visit
Sundays start at 9 AM. This is usually a good time to come out to visit and take part in feeding the animals. Sundays is also the day off for the people who stay on our farm so I get to do all the chores myself and enjoy spending time showing visitors what’s involved in the day to day operation. Lots of fun for families (me too!). Prior arrangements must be made. Be sure to dress appropriately. The inside of your car may smell different on your way home
WWOOF – Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms
WWOOFing is a good way to experience the farm and see what life on an organic animal farm is really like. WWOOFers tend to stay anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.
Help is appreciated throughout the year with most jobs centered around caring for the animals (no shit shoveling as all animals are free range on pasture). Accomodation is either in our log house or in the two buildings separate from the family home. Volunteers should be kind, independent, innovative and ready for adventure. People wanting to learn skills about raising livestock organically will learn lots. Some have even gone on to start their own farms!
Meals include a lot of organics with all meat coming from the farm. Lots of opportunities for cooking or learning how to cook. All living costs are covered with the exception of personal products, clothes and junk food. Aside from good times on the farm, we also try to provide our guests with a “cultural experience” unique to our area. This can be anything from hiking, canoeing, XC skiing, fishing, visiting waterfalls, concerts, auction sales, star gazing, workshops, protests, rodeos, etc. Lots of campfires and neighbourhood parties. Even the northern lights (aurora borealis) like to visit. Other visitors include moose, deer, coyotes, swans and the occasional bear. Musicians are most appreciated! We have a piano in the house along with other instruments. Internet is high speed.
Spring and summer are the times of major activity on First Nature Farms although we welcome guests all year round. There are always times when visits turn into adventures so it helps to be prepared for unexpected. Never a dull moment around here!
We have been a part of the WWOOF program (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) since 1995. We’ve had folks visit from Japan, Korea, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Holland, France, South Africa, the US and even Canada! (All visitors must be responsible for their own actions and carry their own medical insurance).
We request that anyone wishing to share in our farm experience sign up with WWOOF at the web site.
Certified organic for the past 24 years, First Nature Farms is considered an ecological reserve of over 3000 acres of mostly aspen forest, three creeks and several beaver ponds. Organic since 1990, our diverse ranch includes grass finished Belted Galloway cattle, Plains bison, free range chickens and turkeys but our specialty are the Berkshire pigs. We raise heritage breeds in a gentle environment from farrow to finish, outside, year round. “Buttercup” the Jersey cow is a close member of our family, supplying all our dairy needs.
For people who are serious about learning to raise livestock organically, I am prepared to dedicate my time to teach you. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to learn skills necessary for the pasture raising of pigs, cattle, buffalo, chickens and turkeys. Other opportunities include honey bees, shelter and feeder construction, fencing, equipment operation/safety, animal nutrition, marketing of products, Farmers Markets, and the costs & returns of organic production.
During your stay, housing is provided in either a private dwelling or shared accommodation in our log house. Both are heated with wood. The private dwelling has no plumbing but an outhouse with a good view. Water is carried from the well.
Breakfast is on your own. We supply all food except for junk food and personal habits. Lunch and supper are shared. We try to eat as much organic and local as possible. Most vegetables are from the garden or neighbourhood. All meat is from the farm.
I would like to see young farmers returning to the land to create mixed farms, which are rich in biodiversity. I would like those farms to be profitable and have a symbiotic relationship with their community. My goal is to assist people to make their dream a reality by sharing my knowledge, experiences, animals and farm.
Annual Ranch Barbecue
Since 1916 the annual ranch BBQ has been a good reason to get together with neighbours and friends. For many years it was a rodeo which became so popular that eventually it moved to its own site and became the Rio Grande Rodeo.
Times have changed but the tradition continues. Every 3rd weekend of August we gather for a weekend of music and good times. Farm tours, nature walks, canoeing, campfires, pig roast, organic beer (Crannough Ales), live music, fireworks, Heavy Metal Friday, open mike Saturday spilling over into Sunday with an organic pancake brunch.
Accommodation is on your own with lots of camping spots available. For those who have any distance to drive, especially coming from the city, plan a 3 day weekend. It takes a couple of days just to get “countryfied”. Guests are asked to confirm their plans in advance.