Belluz Farms - Growing since 1946

By: Belluz Farms  09-12-2011
Keywords: recycle, composting, Farm Market

Sustainable Plant Production and Farming in Thunder Bay

Sustainable Agriculture

  • We collect rainwater off the roof and recycle our water and fertilizer through the floor drain system.
  • We use special 99% efficient boilers to heat the floors and an energy retention curtain that closes at night to trap heat in.
  • We use biological controls – good bugs to eat the bad bugs – to prevent insect problems.
  • Our Pot-less Plant (Plant the Pot) program is designed to eliminate plastic waste from production – just plant the pot and return the tray to be reused.
  • We’re currently experimenting with vermi-compost and compost tea to broaden the way we feed our plants.
  • We re-use pots – Bring back any pots larger than 4” – they must be thoroughly washed – and we’ll try to re-use them next year.

In the Farm Market

  • We’re a plastic bag free zone – bring your own bag and we’ll fill it, or we have 100% compostable plant based bags available for sale.
  • Only natural, earth-friendly cleaning supplies are used.
  • No high-fructose corn syrup beverages are sold in our Harvest Café – oh - and no hot dogs either. (But lots of other better, yummier things!)
  • We're converting all disposable food ware in our Harvest Cafe to 100% compostable options.
  • Our washrooms are equipped with composting toilets.  Paper towels and toilet paper are made of recycled paper with the highest amount of post-consumer recycled material that we can find.
  • The Farm Market Store is a minimum waste zone.  We manage our waste through recycling, re-using and composting.

Out in the Fields (visit our crop calender to find out when things are in season)

  • We maintain (or, ignore really!) many natural habitats around the farm including over 70 acres of woodland, shelter belts and grassland, over 2 acres of wetland and marsh area, and 4 ponds.
  • We use organic practices like crop rotation and cover crops to limit pests and improve soil structure and nutrients, companion crops to encourage biological controls and bees, hours and hours of hand weeding, 100% biodegradable mulches and straw to limit weed germination, natural fertilizers like gypsum, lime, and potassium sulphate to help feed our crops, natural pest controls (spinosad, soaps and kaolin clay), and crop scouting to identify pests early and treat them only when necessary for minimal impacts.
  • We have installed drip irrigation into our strawberries to use up to 70% less water.
  • We employ only local labour (over 50 students each summer) and provide a great working environment with paid breaks, good health and safety programs, WSIB coverage, and complete insurance coverage for our staff, facilities, and products.
  • When we don’t use an organic product we make that decision based on the long term impact to our land, our health, and the safety of our produce – not just on today’s economics.

      Continuous Improvement

Agriculture, like all jobs, must be treated as a profession if you are going to be successful in the long term - especially if you believe in providing safe, good quality food to thousands of people each year.  It requires respect for time-honoured traditions and constant learning about how to make those fundamentals better and safer.  There's no tenure or guaranteed income on the farm, although there is always work to do!  We receive 5 different professional publications and attend numerous learning opportunties each year.  While these cost us money, it is really an investment in our business and your food.  We also belong to numerous professional organizations:

  • Ontario Federation of Agriculture

  • Canadian Agricultural Safety Association

  • Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association

  • Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Association

  • North American Strawberry Grower's Association

  • ONTRACE - Food Traceability

  • Ontario Berry Grower's Association

  • Seeds of Diversity

  • Slow Food Superior

  • Thunder Bay Country Market (Founding Member)

Back to Front, L-R:  Claire, Jodi, Don, Kevin, Findley and Lily
Not pictured:  Farm founders Mary and Bernie Belluz

Keywords: composting, Farm Market, Floor Drain, recycle