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Progress area farmer picks up funding for pilot project researching soil health research

AAFC is investing $55K for a pilot project on soil health research in Indigenous agriculture in the Peace region.
Soil research funding.

Local Peace Region Indigenous Farmer, Tiffany Traverse of Fourth Sister Farm, has received funding to conduct a soil health research project that will take part over the next two years.

Also receiving funding were the AAFC researchers from the Lethbridge Research Centre and Beaverlodge Research Farms, the work focuses on the benefits of closed-loop farming.

Traverse will use different animal fertilizers, all sourced locally and eating perennial forages at her farm, as well as vermicompost, to examine their impacts on the health and fertility of Peace Region’s clay soils. Traverse will pull from her knowledge base, planting each of the trials using the Indigenous method of Phenology (moon phase planting), taught to her by her mentor, Mohawk Seed keeper Rowen White, to dictate the most ideal time for the seeds.

This project will blend western science with traditional Indigenous ways of knowing, in a way that Traverse hopes can be modelled and customized for other regions and communities. The partnership has already had the participants looking at ways in which research can be decolonized and tailored to suit the farm and grower involved, and to have the lead taken by Traverse on such things as manageable plot sizes, seed choice and seeding rate. The first year will be a testing of Fava Beans, and year two is oats, all organically-grown heirlooms.

“Diversity is our strength, and when we collaborate and learn from one another it opens the door to tremendous opportunities. This 55K partnership between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Fourth Sister Farm offers a new perspective on soil health that will support farmers growing in the Peace Country, and potentially other communities. I look forward to seeing their final results,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.