Reroot Organic Farm is a 70-acre farm located in Harriston, Ontario (directly west of Orangeville) that sells products at a stall in Sorauren Park Farmer’s Market in Toronto’s west end. The farm sells organic produce from their own farm, organically raised but non-organic certified meat from their own farm, and organic seeds from their neighbouring farm.
The farm’s decision to not pursue organic certification for their meat stems from not producing enough to justify certification fees. However, they claim to raise the livestock outdoors, feed them GMO-free grains, and refrain from mutilation techniques (such as tail docking or beak trimming). The farm’s stated practices are to “produce food in ways that protect natural ecological processes, re-juvenate the soil, and ensure the health and happiness of our animals” (How we farm.)
Caitlin Hall, the farmer at Reroot, has a BES in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo, and she been farming since 2004. She bought the land that is now Reroot Farm in 2010 (Your Farmer). Caitlin was not at the Farmer’s Market when I visited. I instead spoke with two of her employees.
Left: Reroot stall at Sorauren Park, 10 June 2019. Right, stall on a sunnier day. Right photo retrieved from reroot.ca.
Reroot grows more than forty types of organic herbs and vegetables, and produces beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and honey. I bought a bag of mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) for 4$. It is difficult to compare prices, as I have never seen this particular green for sale before. However, in comparing the price of the greens with an equivalent amount of washed organic greens for sale at Walmart, the greens from Reroot Farm are approximately 0.50$ more expensive (Walmart.com).
I believe that the small additional cost was worthwhile to me. Both products are organic, but there are other pillars of sustainability than just environmental. Studies suggest that substantially more of each dollar spent at a local purveyor is recirculated locally compared to money spent at a national chain (Mitchell). Supporting a local farmer also supports the local economy. Through this experience I learned to more closely examine a belief that farmer’s market produce is automatically significantly more expensive than produce from grocery stores. I also learned that not having an organic certification does not necessarily mean that a farm is engaging in environmentally unsustainable practices.
The greens were slightly peppery and very crisp, and tasted sharper and fresher than the limp and insipid greens for sale in the plastic clam shells at Walmart. We enjoyed them lightly dressed, along with grilled bread and smoked arctic char, all from the market.
“How we farm.” Reroot Farm. Retrieved 10 June 2019. URL: https://reroot.ca/how_we_farm.php
Mitchell, Stacy. “Key Studies: Why local matters.” 8 January 2016. Institute for Local Self-Reliance.” URL: http://www.ilsr.org/key-studies-why-local-matters
“Marketside Organic Baby Spinach.” Walmart.com. Retrieved 12 June 2019. URL: walmart.com/ip/Marketside-organic-baby-spinach-salad-5oz/13893733
“Your farmer.” Reroot Farm. Retrieved 10 June 2019. URL: https://reroot.ca/yourfarm.php