3 Ridges Farms

The Essential Elements of Three Ridges Ecological Farm

Land

Three Ridges Ecological Farm is located on 50 acres just south of Aylmer, Ontario, Canada near the north shores of Lake Erie. The farm includes pastures, orchard and nut tree plantings, native prairie and Carolinian forest and several constructed wetlands. To start, we produce mostly quality meats & eggs from our pastures; as the ecosystem matures, we will produce a greater diversity of products from all areas of the farm.

Heart 
We, Drake Larsen and Sarah Hargreaves, established 3R in 2015. Ecologists-turned-farmers, we strive to apply our understanding of nature’s interactions to creating a regenerative farm.

With a sense of adventure and love of working hard outdoors, we met at a remote biological research field station surrounded by polar bears near Churchill, Manitoba. We lived in Drake’s home state of Iowa for 10 years, where we spent a lot of time sitting in uncomfortable chairs (Sarah has a Ph.D. in soil microbial ecology and Drake an M.Sc. in Sustainable Agriculture); learned about the scary state of agriculture agribusiness; hunted, gathered, gardened and preserved with some cherished folks; then had a baby. In 2015, we moved back to Sarah’s home province of Ontario to start farming for our daughter’s future. While in Iowa, Drake also worked for Practical Farmers of Iowa and Sarah currently works part-time for Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Read more about our advocacy of soil microbes and diversified agriculture.

Soul

The animals – our cows, pigs, chickens, and ducks – that improve the land through grazing, fertilizing and tromping around; they provide us with healthful meat and eggs; and keep us entertained, honest and humble. Read more about our animals and what they eat.

The microbes – bacteria and fungi – that work the soil to feed the plants, hold water and store carbon.

The woodland kissed with ramps and wildflowers. And, the wildlife that shares this land with us: deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, owls, squirrels, bobolinks, geese, voles, …

Diversity

Diversity is critical to a well-functioning and resilient ecosystem – but is lacking in modern agricultural landscapes. Diversity helps us: build soil, fight pests and disease, support pollinators and wildlife, manage risk (from consumer change to climate change), produce healthful food, and much more.

At 3R, we manage a diversity of animals, plants, fungi and trees that work together in a diversity of habitats to form synergisms unique to our land and integrated ecological farms.

Design

Our landscape plan is inspired by Keyline Design. A primary goal of the farm’s configuration is to spread water from the wet areas to the dry areas and make use of all the water that enters the system. We use farming and horticulture, animal husbandry, silvopasture and agroforestry holistically to regenerate the landscape and provide for our family and community.

Community

The nourishing, supportive and diverse group of farmers, customers, and friends:

Goal

Following the spirit expressed in Holistic Management, we defined a long-term goal for the farm. We strive to create a future farm were:

Farm ecology —high diversity, low input—  provides all the nutrition and water resources for crops and livestock such that our dynamic farm enterprises are economically successful while providing others access to foods at fair prices. Our farm enterprises are intended to function in low entropy state that allows for optimal productivity balanced with reasonable human workloads and low capital costs. Beyond food, our farm provides us and our community with aesthetic beauty, and spiritual and recreational opportunities.
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