Fresh Roots Farm was established in 2011, by us, Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek, on a piece of land that was owned and farmed by Michelle’s grandparents and parents, near Cartwright in southwest Manitoba. Although Michelle grew up on her family’s nearby cattle ranch (Troy originally a town boy from Dauphin, MB) we both put down “fresh roots” with equally fresh ideas and optimism for growing good food from the land.
We are a young couple, just starting our family with our son, Sydney, born August 2017. We strive to create a viable livelihood from agriculture and animal stewardship, in ways that do not harm but, rather, improve and regenerate the environments we reside and work in. We have studied and worked in areas of environmental science, community development, local food movements, and holistic management, which helped inspire us to work towards the following goals:
- Feed Manitoba families healthy, nutrient dense, delicious food, and especially to those who wish to have a connection to the people who produce that food;
- Honour, respect and treat with dignity all the diversity of life inhabiting our land, including the livestock and bees in our care but also the wildlife;
- Have a meaningful, stable and viable career and livelihood;
- Be positive, contributing members of our community, and;
- Develop a home and farm where we are proud to raise a family, and leave to future generations – ultimately with more tools, resources and better environmental conditions for adapting to future challenges such as climate change.
Though we started out raising and marketing livestock in a conventional manner, our farm business model has transitioned towards a system where nearly all of our livestock are exclusively grassfed and marketed direct-to-consumer. The same is true of our apiary in that we produce, package and market most of our honey direct-to-consumer or through local retailers throughout rural and urban Manitoba. This has only been possible by building up a network of local supporters and providing a consistent, high qualiy product. There is always much more to learn and we are fortunate to have many mentors in the Manitoba grassfed and beekeeping communities to help fine tune our farm management and marketing. We look forward to further building a network of happy customers, whose support will ensure the sustainability of our livelihood and farm business long into the future. Thanks for embarking on this path with us!
“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us was good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it is possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and and learn what is good for it.” –Wendell Berry
About our farm
Here are some of the principles we believe in and follow at Fresh Roots Farm:
Regenerative and Adaptive Land Management:
We want to work beyond the term “sustainability” and instead of maintaining the status quo, we strive to improve and regenerate the health of our soil, plants and biology. We want to incorporate grazing ruminant animals and pollinators into that system, and in turn, produce high quality, nutrient-dense and healthy food. We employ systems of holistic adaptive grazing with our beef and sheep, and pasture-based beekeeping that encourages ecosystem biodiversity.
Humane and Low-Stress Animal Handling:
We believe in putting the utmost importance on the health and well-being of the livestock (and bees) we steward, and strive to work with them in a way that is less stressful and interventionist, to recognize their right for good and nutritious food, clean water, and shelter when needed, and to respect their lives by providing them with a happy life and humane slaughter.
Direct Marketing to Eaters and Their Families:
Local food systems are important to us, and we believe that there are advantages for both the Farmers and Eaters in a system that links food producers directly with the people that will be eating it. For Eaters, they get to form a meaningful relationship with their farmer, with an opportunity to know exactly how their food was produced, and to see and visit the farm itself. They can also benefit from cost savings by purchasing bulk quantities that will last over a longer period of time. Farmers are able to be compensated fairly for the work of producing that food (rather than having it dictated by unjust market forces beyond their control), and also benefit from the valuable relationships formed by knowing the people who will be eating and enjoying the fruits of their labour. We also enjoy encouraging the support of local Manitoba businesses that retail our raw honey.