Ferme Pleine Lune is located in Low, Quebec-20 minutes North of Wakefield, QC and 40 minutes from Ottawa, Ontario. We are a certified organic, mixed vegetable and herb farm selling through CSA and farmers markets. Our main focus is our community supported agriculture program, which runs from June to October and from November to February. The property is 180 acres, of which we cultivate 9 of them! The majority of the land is forest or fallow, and of our 9 cultivated acres, we always keep half of them in cover crops and green manures.
On our farm we strive to grow the highest quality food while working to improve the soils, waters and biodiversity that we depend on for our gardens to flourish. We are committed to farming in a way that respects our local ecological systems and benefits regional wildlife. For us, maintaining our organic certification is a way that we can guarantee to our members and customers that we are fulfilling our promise to grow food in a way that contributes to both human health and the health of our lands.
A little bit more about the farm...
Ferme Pleine Lune is owned and operated by Randi Townsend and Jonathan Smiley. We have been farming together since I (Jon) popped up in Randi's patch at the Just Food farm in Blackburn Hamlet, Ottawa, in the fall of 2013, and decided to stick around and help. Since that moment, we spent a full year working on that project together along with Sarah Lawrence under the name of Barefoot Gardens. From there, Randi and Jon moved to Grey County in Southwestern Ontario, to work with Leslie Moskovits and Jeff Boesch at Cedar Down Farm, Randi as a farm manager and Jon as a field worker. While there, we learned a whole assortment of new tricks and techniques from the veteran farmers at Cedar Down and in the community at large. After one great season, we stayed on for a second, more challenging (drought much?) season, where we continued to learn lessons in and out of the fields about running a successful CSA operation.
We are very grateful for the support that Jeff and Leslie provided us when, in our last year together (2016) we came across the opportunity to buy a farm that seemed too good to pass up. As overwhelming and difficult as it seemed to start a new farm, they were there to talk us through the lessons they had learned when they were getting going (immortalized for eternity in the organic-farmer favourite Documentary "To Make a Farm.") As certain as we were that starting a farm was our goal, our two seasons at Cedar Down farm provided us with the certainty that we were ready to make our dream a reality. We moved to Bristol in November of 2016, just a couple of days before the snow came in for the season.
In 2021 we found our 'Forever farm' in Low, Quebec and set our roots there in November of that year.
A little bit more about the farmers...
Jon has always had an affinity for the natural world, and likes to think that his 4-year-old self, nicknamed "dirtball" for good reason, would be very happy with his choice to grow vegetables as a grown-up. Not only does grown-up Jon get to play in the soil all day, but he gets to do so with the good conscience that he is doing it for a good reason - growing food! As a university student studying Political Science at Ottawa University, Jon took a particular interest in the politics of food production and accessibility. Though it remained an active interest, Jon took a few years testing out the job market, working office jobs in government and politics for a few years before going to live in South Korea. After a couple of years, Jon decided it was time to go home and get serious about following his passions and convictions, but not before taking an extended trip around India and Southeast Asia. On this trip, Jon was reminded about how important it is to stop and think about our human essentials of food, water and community, that we so often take for granted at home. Since that time, Jon has sought to dedicate his time and efforts to living in a way that contributes positively to repairing a broken food system, maintaining healthy water (and eco) systems, and a healthy and vibrant community. What better way than through growing food in an ecologically responsible way, bringing people together over the universal need for health and nourishment.
Randi began her interest in sustainable agriculture in 2007 while working for the Ontario Public Interest Group and participating in local activism in her hometown of St.Catharines. Her experiences learning about and adding to conversations around environmentalism, conservation, feminism and social change, lead her to a summer trip of farm immersion as a WWOOFER on Salt Spring Island, B.C. That summer opened her eyes to the possibilities of sustainable, communal living and to the joy and satisfaction of growing food! She then went on to intern on Vancouver Island with the lovely women at Saanich Organics, where she furthered her knowledge and experience growing organically. She spent the next couple of years working as a baker (her other passion), and on other organic farms including a season with Brad Wright and Leela Ramachandran of Bluegrass Farm and two years running Barefoot Gardens (alongside Sarah Lawrence of Beat Greens Garden) at the Just Food Startup Farm. Before finally purchasing our lovely farm in Bristol, QC, she worked with the amazingly talented folks at Cedar Down Farm in Grey county, co-managing 6.5 acres for a 200 family CSA.
It has been a long journey all around Canada for both of us, learning the lessons that have culminated into our passions, fulfilling our need to spend our days doing work that is meaningful and building community everywhere we go. Now that we have finally found a place to sink our roots into the ground, we hope that you will join our new, small community here at Ferme Pleine Lune!