Bramble Lea Farm
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welcome to our

farm & food bank fundraiser!

Watch the video below, or read on for details.

 
 

double your impact!

We’re asking for $4000 in donations to put toward a new transplanter. You can choose to have your donation converted into organic, farm-fresh vegetables and delivered to the Brockville & Area Food Bank.

Watch the video and read on for details!

 
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 small farm. big plans.

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Lulu, Melissa, & John in front of the old dairy barn.

Lulu, Melissa, & John in front of the old dairy barn.

Bramble Lea Farm is an organic farm & bakery about 15km north of the St. Lawrence River in the dairy and cash-crop country of eastern Ontario.

Our ethos has always been simple: work hard - very hard - care a lot, and deliver the most delicious vegetables, breads, cookies, and pastries to our 100-kilometer community.

In just two seasons, we’ve built a legendary reputation for our tomatoes, supplied local restaurants and groceries with succulent greens, hearty staples, and sweets, and built a loyal customer base.

 

We have big plans for our farm. We’d like to expand production into pasture-raised poultry, pork, beef, and eggs; double the amount of land weve got under cultivation; start a delivery service to Brockville, Kingston, and Ottawa; and - one day - to start a small, “gap-year” school for young people who want to learn about farming and self-sufficiency before they head off to college.

And as early as October of this year, we’d like to hold our first annual Pumpkin Festival!

Like many small-scale farmers, we hope to build a farm that not only improves the land, but that’s also an expression of ourselves and our values.

Our long-term plan for Bramble Lea Farm. Every square foot will be used!

Our long-term plan for Bramble Lea Farm. Every square foot will be used!

 
The Rain-Flo 1200 in all its glory.

The Rain-Flo 1200 in all its glory.

Right now, what we need is a transplanter: a Rain-Flo Model 1200 Water Wheel Transplanter. It’s got a simple - almost ancient - design. Forward motion causes the wheel to turn, the spikes on the wheel make depressions in the soil, water runs through the wheel into the depression, and the person on the seat plants the seedling plugs.

Adding this single, simple machine to our small fleet of implements would make an enormous difference in our productivity. As things stand now, we spend a great deal of our time transplanting the thousands of seedlings we’ve started under grow lights, in our greenhouse, and in cold frames throughout the season. We get greater germination rates and yields with seedlings than with direct-seeded plants.

 
John transplanting a 200-count tray of onions.

John transplanting a 200-count tray of onions.

The number of seedlings we transplant by hand over the course of the season easily numbers in the tens of thousands. (A single flat of onions, for instance, holds 200 plants - last year, we planted 20 flats of onions alone.)

Doing this by hand takes weeks, and the more time we spend transplanting, the less time we have for other essential tasks, especially weeding. And successful organic farming is all about weeding - it is constant, laborious, time-consuming, and incredibly satisfying. In the last couple seasons, we’ve lost a few successions of slow-growing vegetables (like carrots and beets) to weeds we couldn’t adequately control.

The transplanter would revolutionize our weed-control efforts by giving us the most important thing we lack: time.

 
Transplanting onions into plastic mulch.

Transplanting onions into plastic mulch.

 

 how to help

There are a number of ways you can help.

If you don’t wish to make a donation, but still wish to help, you can spread the word about our fundraiser.

If you wish to donate, click on the donation button at the bottom of the page.
(You can donate by electronic funds transfer, too - just contact us here.)

On the donation page, you can choose between four options:

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PLEASE NOTE that since Bramble Lea Farm is a for-profit entity, we cannot issue donation invoices for tax purposes.

Support the farm & food bank
 

What if we miss our target?

 
 

Even if we don’t manage to reach our target of $4000, the money we receive in Food Bank donations will still go to the foodbank. There are a number of other pieces of equipment we need that this fundraiser can still provide. Here are a few of them:

 
 
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seed cutter

We cut over 600 lbs of seed potatoes last year by hand. A seed cutter would save labour and pain!

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Undercutter

Last year, we planted about an acre of potatoes, carrots, and onions. We dug them up and harvested them manually. An undercutter would do the digging for us!

root washer

This is another essential piece of equipment for scaling up production. We could build this from open-source plans and mechanize a difficult, time-consuming job.

Silage tarps

Tarps are an excellent way to control weeds: they solarise the soil, reducing the population of weed seeds and pests.