Fresh Roots Farm was established in 2011, by 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) they both put down “fresh roots” with equally fresh ideas and optimism for growing good food from the land.
We are a young couple, and have been striving to create an economically-sustainable livelihood from agriculture and animal stewardship, in ways that do not harm, but improve or regenerate the environments we live and work in. We have studied and worked in areas of environmental science, community development, local food movements, and holistic management, and wish to put into action our dream that the act of producing food can:
- Feed families who wish to know and have a relationship with the people who produce that food;
- Honour and appreciate the lives of livestock, pollinators and other wildlife and their positive impacts on regeneration of land;
- Become a viable and sustainable option as a meaningful career and livelihood for other young people; and
- Help to nurture a lifestyle and landscape in which we are proud to raise a family, and leave future generations with more tools, resources and better environmental conditions for adapting to climate change
We have gradually introduced grassfed livestock and direct marketing into our farm business model, as the costs and risk were high and we chose to build up a network of local supporters along the way (which is now growing strong!) We still currently sell some of our beef into the conventional market, but are moving towards relying mostly or completely on grassfed animals and their sales via direct marketing. In addition to our work on the farm, we both have part-time off-farm work, which helps support our living expenses. We look forward to further building a network of happy customers, whose support will ensure the sustainability of our livelihood and farm business.
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.