Experimental Acres

 

We know that farmers are interested in regenerative farming but there can be barriers to getting started. In the spring of 2022, 15 local farmers joined the Experimental Acres Pilot, which provides supports for the first year of trying  new farming practices on a small scale. The goal of the pilot is to backstop risk, develop a community of support, and assist in capturing the business cases that can demonstrate what will be worth repeating. 

The Experimental Acres Pilot will:

Banner with three sections with small emoticons. The first block says "encourage regenerative farming practices on a small scale". The second says offer monetary and educational supports to producers interested in applying regenerative practices. The third block says provide social support group to help producers adopt regenerative agriculture practices

2023 Pilot Hosts

Thank you so much to our 2023 Experimental Acres hosts! We worked with 11 farms in Wellington County as they trial new, regenerative agriculture practices. These farms were joined by 10 farms in Dufferin and Grey Counties. 

Our Experimental Acres partners for 2023 were:

Wellington CountyDufferin CountyGrey County

See samples of 2023 Experimental Acres projects below. 

Program Details

Farmers know their land best, which is why participants design their own Experimental Acres. Each farm has a unique question they are trying to answer, based on their interests and goals. In addition to financial support, we offer soil testing and community building events. We sorted each project into one of three funding streams. 

  1. Crop/Planting (up to $1000.00 in funding available): Maintaining soil cover helps reduce soil erosion from wind and precipitation. Example practices include cover cropping, intercropping and introducing new crops into the rotation
  2. Innovation (up to $2000.00 in funding available): The innovation stream is for projects that have the potential to benefit soil health, and do not fit into other categories. Example practices include tarping to reduce tillage intesity, winter crop rotation, and planting tall grass prairie.
  3. Animal/Grazing (up to $3000.00 in funding available): Integrating animals on the farm can have many benefits to soil health and promote carbon storage in cropland soil. Example practices include rotational grazing, silvopasture, and bale grazing.

Upcoming Events

Check back soon!

Past Events

Ag Innovation Spotlight

Join the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association for the Ag Innovation Spotlight. With advancements in machinery, agronomy and livestock production, farming has changed a lot over the last few generations!

Learn about the latest innovation in agriculture and hear from leading farmers and experts on what they are doing to make agriculture even more sustainable.

See things like drones, the latest technology to reduce compaction, innovation in soil care and crop management. Tickets can be purchased in advance, or at the door. 

Event Date: July 20, from 5:00 - 8:00pm

Location: Grand River Agricultural Society 7445 Wellington Rd 21, Elora, ON N0B 1S0

Reimagine Food at Hillside!

Join Reimagine Food staff at Hillside 2023! 

Come together with your community to discuss the most important part of our day: food! Through shared stories and experiences of food action and reflection about your role in a circular food system, you can participate in Reimagine Food's Nourishing Food Action Cook Book. Bring yourself and your food story! 

Event Date: July 29, at 5:00 pm AND July 30, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Location: Guelph Lake Conservation Area, 7743 Conservation Rd RR4, Guelph, ON N1H 6J1

2023 Resilience Festival - Seedy Saturday

Join Reimagine Food staff members at Seedy Saturday to learn about urban gardening, sustainable food and supporting our local communities. This free event is filled with skill-development workshops like Intro to Home Gardening, Basic Clothing Repairs and more! Meet with Community Supported Agriculture farmers and Seed Librarians, all while eating delicious food.

Event Date: Saturday, March 25, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Does Soil Health Pay? Understanding the Costs and Benefits of Agricultural Soil Management

Join experts from the Greebelt Foundation, University of Guelph and local farmers to discuss the economic highs and lows of soil health practices. The event will include information about the Greenbelt Report "Towards a Business Case for Soil Health". Practices discussed will include tillage intensity, cover cropping, crop rotation, nutrient management, organic amendment use and rotational grazing. The event is co-sponsored by The Greenbelt Foundation, Our Food Future and Erin Common Ground. Light refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is required. Registration details can be found on EventBrite.

Event Date: November 23, 7:00 pm

Location: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 442, 12 Dundas Street E, Erin, ON, N0B 1T0

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair - Education Symposium

Stop by the Education Symposium hosted by the University of Guelph to hear Our Food Future Sustainability Programme Coordinator Jordan Grigg speak about regenerative agriculture, the importance of soil health and the future of food. The Education Symposium runs from 10:30am-3:30pm. Admission to the Education Symposium is free, however tickets for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair must be purchased. 

Event Date: November 10

Location: Exhibition Place, 100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

OSCIA Harnessing the Power of Soil Health

Along with Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Grand River Agricultural Society, Our Food Future co-sponsored a field day about soil health. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' Soil Health Team demystified the soil pit, compaction and the important of soil microbiology.

Event date: July 21

Soil Webinar

 We held a webinar discussing soil health and livestock nutrition. Sessions included:

  • Growing your Herd from the Ground Up. Gary Zimmer of Midwestern BioAg, in conversation with Janet Harrop of Harrcroft Acres and Jonathan Zettler of Fieldwalker Agronomy.
  • Local Resources. A brief review of how and where to find support.
  • Getting started. A panel discussion with local farmers sharing the hurdles and supports they have encountered as they shift practices. Moderated by Mel Luymes of Headlands Ag-Enviro-Solutions
  • Closing remarks. A message from Senator Rob Black.  

 Event date: March 4

2023 Resilience Festival - Seedy Saturday

Join Reimagine Food staff members at Seedy Saturday to learn about urban gardening, sustainable food and supporting our local communities. This free event is filled with skill-development workshops like Intro to Home Gardening, Basic Clothing Repairs and more! Meet with Community Supported Agriculture farmers and Seed Librarians, all while eating delicious food.

Event Date: Saturday, March 25, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Current Opportunities

For Producers:

Applications for Experimental Acres are now closed. Successful candidates will be contacted soon.

For Municipalities

Are you interested in bringing Experimental Acres to your region? We created a step-by-step guide about how to replicate the programme in new areas - including job descriptions, budgets, and more. Contact us for more information! 

View the Experimental Acres Handbook below.

Food Future Logo

 

Experimental Acres was first piloted during the joint County of Wellington-City of Guelph Our Food Future project. Learn more about the legacy of Our Food Future. 

© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909