Local farm grows vegetables in the winter to provide their community with year-round fresh produce
Megan Crosland has always been a grower. Her education in plant science and years of experience on different farms led to her passion for organics and desire to grow food for her local community. In 2018, Megan and her partner, Dave McPhail started a farm of their own: 3 Beets to the Wind. 3 Beets to the Wind is located in Fergus and provides gourmet, unusual and heirloom vegetables, herbs, and fruit which are sold at the Guelph Farmers Market and at their farm stand. Consistently working to increase their sustainable practices, 3 Beets to the Wind uses a solar irrigation system and is looking for additional ways to reduce their use of non-renewable resources.
When Megan heard that Guelph-Wellington had been awarded the Smart Cities Challenge prize to implement their vision of creating Canada’s first circular food economy, she was eager to get involved. The Seeding Our Food (SOFF) program was the perfect opportunity to do so. Through the funding and support provided, 3 Beets to the Wind has been working to increase accessibility to food by selling produce at the Guelph Farmers Market during the winter months. Produce grown in late summer is held for harvest in unheated hoop house thus being stored naturally, without the use of fossil fuels so that it can be sold during the off-season. To meet the demand of vegetables during this time, 3 Beets to the Wind also installed an additional heated hoop house where they are growing root vegetables and greens. In the new hoop house, they created a fossil-free root cellar by repurposing an old freezer. Putting the old freezer into the ground allowed them to use it as a cold storage unit to house the new vegetables that they harvested in the winter and extend their lifespan. This increases the amount of produce they can offer and opens up opportunities to engage in circular food collaborations that will turn excess vegetables into value-added products.
Circularity has always been the driving force of 3 Beets to the Wind. Megan believes that the circular economy is the logical solution to address the waste- and food access-related challenges we see today. As they build and develop their business, Megan and Dave strive to implement more circular practices that will allow them to continue increasing access to affordable, nutritious food, create new collaborations, and increase economic value. They are doing this by creating innovative ways to grow during the off-season and finding new methods to conserve resources. To increase sustainability on their farm, Megan is now working on replenishing resources as well. Through Provision Coalition’s R-Purpose MICRO program, Megan is learning more about their business’s purpose and its part to play in a robust circular economy and is looking forward to implementing even more regenerative farming practices in the future.
Photo courtesy of Megan Crosland from 3 Beets to the Wind.