About Our Farm
Since 2011, KW Habilitation has been growing delicious fruits and vegetables for the people we support at Our Farm. Every growing season is different, but the mission of Our Farm remains the same. To connect people to the land, food, and each other through sustainable agriculture.
Our Farm remains an unfunded program. With generous donations from both individuals, companies, and charities Our Farm has maintained and kept growing since 2011.
Our Farm rural site – is situated at our David Fisher Residence (DFR) – 995 Erbsville Road Waterloo. This is our largest site 8 acres. 1/3 acre is in kitchen garden production. Here we grow our crops that need a little bit less tending to, such as squash, cabbage, zucchini, onions, rhubarb, asparagus and so much more. This site also has a 1 km AODA trail to walk, bird habitat, bee keeper and so much more.
The Our Farm urban site is located at 115 University Avenue Waterloo. This site is approximately 8000 square feet of organically grown production. At this site veggies that need more attention are planted such as our beautiful tomatoes, green onions, lettuce, kale, herbs, and all of our flower production is grown here for beautiful bouquets. This site also has raised beds for anyone who wants to garden, a pond less waterfall and sensory garden.
Volunteering at Our Farm
Are you looking to have an impact on your local community? Do you value environmental stewardship, food security, and social connection?
The Our Farm Initiative Mission statement “A community of people connected to the land, their food, and each other through hands-on experience with sustainable farming” encapsulates these values.
Our Farm appreciates Volunteers recognizing their integral role at KW Hab preparing gardens for spring planting, maintaining gardens by weeding, watering, mulching, harvesting, and preparing gardens for fall and winter. Our Farm Volunteers are motivated and seek to make a difference in access to fresh produce playing a part in the farm to dinner table of people supported by KWH and the community. Their role in our teamwork makes our dream work of connecting people to the land, food and each other come to fruition
Volunteering is a matter of Choice Make Our Farm Your Choice
Corporate Days of Giving
Our Farms has hosted many corporate groups over the past 9 years. Groups that have participated have been wonderful and productive in the gardens. Many tasks have been completed during this time such as spreading ten yards of compost, mulch moving, harvesting, painting the shed, planting and so much more. During these work bees’ teams have worked effectively as a team and improved morale. Companies that have participated noted that employees gave back to the community and felt good enriching peoples lives by their contributions to the gardens.
Connect about Volunteering by emailing our volunteer coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org
History of Our Farm
In 2011, a group of community volunteers approached KW Habilitation with the idea of turning their 8-acre property of farmland, located at their David Fisher Residence (DFR) into a productive organic farm.
Excited by the possibilities, KW Hab agreed, and the Our Farm partnership was formed. The mission of this new initiative was to build a community of people connected to the land, food, and each other through sustainable agriculture.
Over the next two years, plans started to grow. Seed and infrastructure funding was secured from Trillium. Tools, a storage container, seeds, row covering and other tools were purchased.
In the 2013 growing season, one-fourth acre of the farmland was cultivated with twenty different vegetables. This was maintained by three volunteers.
The production was poor and it was determined that the soil had been depleted of nutrients from previous farming practices. Evaluating the season, the volunteers realized that KW Hab should establish a permanent position for a coordinator to better connect KW Hab to the land.
In 2014 a full time Our Farm coordinator was hired, and the Our Farm production was expanded to 115 University Avenue location., the Urban farm location. For the first couple of years at this site KW Hab teamed up with Young City Growers, a grassroots initiative creating urban agricultural opportunities for youth to farm the space. This creative project not only promoted social inclusion but built capacity through knowledge exchange and training.
The urban site has about 7,000 square feet that has been cultivated and used for food production. Raised beds were built to accommodate all people who had the desire to garden no matter the barrier they had. A sensory garden was also installed for those wanting to stimulate their senses. This is also the home of Our Farm office.
Our Farm continued to grow each year. In 2015 we secured an environmental grant from the Region of Waterloo and work was able to be continued at the DFR site. Knowing the soil was heavily depleted at the site it was determined that key lines and berms were necessary for water retention. Seeing the present cover crop in the fields were a good indication as the blend of twelve different plants were doing poorly in some spots and very lush in other and dying in high areas. After receiving the grant, the work began. In August of 2015 the field was mowed, laser work completed, and the berms and key lines were installed. By October considerable improvement was noticed due to improved water management in the field.
In 2016, Our Farm was the recipients of a cost sharing grant for tree planting from Grand River conservation authority.
In April of 2016, a windbreak was planted along Kressler Road. We planted 96 Norway spruce trees! Also planted were red oaks, sugar maples and white cedars. One of the unique aspects of the plantings from the Grand River Conservation are that the seeds were gleaned located and grown for the conservation. It makes the planting native to our DFR site. Also planted were hazelnuts, elderberry shrubs, blueberry shrubs and Saskatoon shrubs.
In 2017, 15 bird houses were erected throughout the acreage hoping to bring back black capped chickadees, eastern bluebirds, and tree swallows to the area. Boxes were made by a local bird ornithophile and painted by people supported by KW Habilitation. Reforestation of the lower part of the property was completed as well with 720 white pine, 200 white cedar, and 170 European larch trees (170)
Continued success every year has been noted by the presence of these birds and the nesting we see in the bird houses.
Work continued throughout 2018. Raspberry bushes, apple trees and a gazebo was installed. In 2018 and 2019, weekly market events were held at the main administration building at KW Habilitation. This was an opportunity for our inclusive living homes to pick up their free vegetables and for community members to purchase the excess crop.
2020 Our Farm received another grant from the Region of Waterloo and a 1 km AODA accessible trails was completed throughout the acreage. Benches were installed at key areas of the trail. We suspended our weekly markets and provided a regular pick up date for all inclusive living homes to collect their food. All of our excess food was donated to local community partner organizations.
In 2021 Our Farm did tree replacement due to mortality from heavy deer damage to the trees through the wintertime. In 2021 100 Woman Who Care made a large donation to the Our Farm program for equipment in the garden and more storage.
In 2022, a new walk behind tractor was purchased and new Shed was erected at the DFR site. Also completed was signage on the trail for walkers to note key information about the acreage.