Hello from the co-op farm! We are the Black River Cooperative, a worker co-op made up of 5 local, land based businesses working and living regeneratively in Northern Ontario. We are farmers and foragers, builders and planners on the front line of climate and social action. Our work aims to improve the health and wellness of our community through nutrient dense naturally grown foods, ethically harvested products, community access to land and environmental responsibility.
The Black River Cooperative holds a 176 acres farm in Matheson, where the Black River and the Watabeag River meet and flow North to the Arctic ocean. Born out of the need for a land ownership model that values stewardship over extraction, a food system that could provide actual security and an economic model that is fair for everyone, the Black River Cooperative has seen their 3 years of research and community building come to life in 2019. Read full profile here.
Black River Co-op received a grant to support a four-season northern greenhouse. In addition to a new enterprise for micro-greens, impacts include:
Preservation and regeneration of land and water
Community regeneration through education and food access
Sustainable wild foraging for medicinal uses
Season extension for northern grown food for northern eaters
Healthy food access for more community members
The Chufa Co. is the only Canadian company specializing in tigernut based products for the dairy-alternative category. Through the use of innovative food technology, they are creating functional, sustainable and plant-based non-dairy products, such as tigernut ‘milk’ and tigernut ‘ice-cream’. Tigernuts, which are actually small tubers have an impressive nutritional profile. They are free from all allergens, and are full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and most impressively, gut-healthy Resistant Starch Prebiotic Fibre.
When Chufa Co. set up the company we were importing our tigernuts from Spain, but after three years of R&D with the support of OMAFRA and The University of Guelph, they have established a crop in Southwestern Ontario, where they are now working with a small group of farmers and looking forward to growing this acreage. The tigernut crop doesn't require any irrigation and is a very low impact plant for farmers, with a high nutritional value per acre.
Their company mission is to create a Canadian crop and locally made products to feed the future responsibly, under the relentless and real threat of climate change and food security, Tigernuts can replace dairy in every way: milk, ice-cream, butter, yoghurt and even cheese and Chufa Co. sees tigernuts as a Future Food.
The Chufa Co in committed to using valuable crop acreage to grow sustainable, nutritious and affordable food for now and the future.
The Fair Finance Fund provided a loan to the Chufa Co. to grow and harvest their tiger-nut crop in Ontario, replacing the essential imported ingredient in their dairy alternative products.
Kipling Ridge Farms is a small, family run diversified, ecological farming operation planning to provide a variety of meat and produce to customers throughout North-Eastern Ontario. The organization’s mission is to provide safe, healthy, ecological products to the local community while enhancing the farm’s soil and water for future generations. This will be accomplished through integrity, sincerity, and respect for all living things. To accomplish this mission, Kipling Ridge Farms must complete several infrastructure and equipment related investments in order to implement a viable business model, increase efficiency and effectively implement their production strategies.
Kipling Ridge Farms sought out the Fair Finance Fund to receive capital to fund the start of their fruit orchard business. This includes apples that can thrive in more Northern climates and various berries to protect the apple trees and offer a variety of fruits for consumers. Given that the fruit orchard will take a long time to bear fruit, the farm will be repaying the loan through the sales of their meat and vegetable production.
Mulberry Moon Farm is a small-scale farm growing a wide diversity of organic vegetables. The organization sells high-quality, picked to order produce directly to consumers, through customized veggie boxes, to local restaurants, at farmer’s markets and at the on-farm store. Their mission is to grow a diverse family farm that is sustainable both ecologically and economically, with respecting, protecting and working with our natural environment. The organization plans to support the local economy and work with the community to build a secure local food system. In doing so, Mulberry Moon hopes to help people reconnect with the food they eat and the way it is grown.
To re-start the farm operation at a new location, Mulberry Moon applied to the Fair Finance Fund for capital to dig a new well, build a packhouse, and purchase equipment. The packhouse will enable the farm to store, wash, process and pack the vegetables and the equipment will optimize the growing, processing and selling of the produce.