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NRF Member Story: Frida’s Field

Nov 17 2020

NRF Member Story: Frida’s Field

Diversifying Income Streams on Small Farms

The Rawlings are a hard working family living on a picture-perfect farm in Nashua and living their dream – to produce wholesome delicious food, shared with others, while farming sustainably to sequester carbon, build soil health and foster biodiversity.

Background

Frida’s Field is a farm owned by Jeanie & Edward Rawling and family since 2015. The property is in the Byron Hinterland hamlet of Nashua and offers 120 acres of fertile river flats, boarded by the Byron Creek and Wilson River.  It was one of the original dairy farms in the area, but the Rawlings now breed Angus-Wagyu beef cattle using cell grazing to manage the land sustainably and run a small farm guesthouse.  They have recently diversified with an on-farm restaurant & have plans to include farm made value-add products in the future.

Who is Frida you may well ask? Jeanie explains – “When we first moved to the country we bought a big ginger pig and called her Frida.  We’d never bred pigs before but we knew we wanted to give it a go.  Our plan was to live close to nature, grow our own food, spend our time doing the things we truly love, and to share this with others.  Frida was our first step towards following our dream – a dream which keeps on growing!”

Regenerative Agriculture Practices

The Rawlings use regenerative farming practices.  They run a small herd of Angus-Wagyu cattle which they breed and manage with holistic principles.  “Our 120 acres is divided into 16 smaller paddocks that we rotate the cattle through every few days. This improves the organic matter in our soils which actively removes carbon from the atmosphere.  The cattle’s natural behaviour (plant biting, saliva, urination, defecation, trampling) interacts with the pasture and its supporting soil, adding plant littler and manure which earthworms and microorganisms decompose.”

The process of decomposition releases nutrients which strengthens the pasture and builds humus which stores plant nutrients, holds moisture and improves soil structure, thereby acting as a carbon sink.  Over time they plan to implement a ‘silvopasture’ system – planting trees into their pastures.  They understand this will have a huge range of benefits including improvements in carbon sequestration, water retention, biodiversity, soil health and animal welfare.

Diversifying Income Streams

Their overall business model is about diversification of income streams; not putting all their eggs in one basket. The guesthouse and cattle were their first forays into commercial enterprises on the farm and they continue to diversity with an on farm restaurant launched earlier this year.

They have taken each step carefully and have kept off-farm income while establishing the farm.  They offer advice to others in the same boat to not expect it to happen overnight “creating your dream and diversifying farm income streams can take a long time to establish”.

More information & Contacts:

Frida’s Field website: https://www.fridasfield.com/

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