LET’S EAT: Let’s share the generosity at Folklore Farm
Kristyn and Barrett Tinney are helping their family and others become more food stable with their community by sharing farm food boxes
If the true measure of practicing your passion is humility, then Kristyn Tinney’s devotion to growing food at Folklore Farm is the epitome of humble pie.
When asked what her title is at Folklore Farm, she struggles to find the right words.
“We’re cultivators,” says Tinney, choosing a title after sifting through a long list of nicknames that don’t quite fit her role at Folklore Farm. “I don’t want to say we are farmers, because there is so much more.”
Tinney and her husband launched a community-based shared farm food box program last year, and the success is still as fresh as the food they grow on their farm.
As a certified permaculture designer, Tinney calls Folklore Farm an experimental and regenerative permaculture practice in motion.
“We say we started CSA (community shared agriculture) with great humility,” Tinney says of the 14 families who invested in food boxes last year.
“It went better than we expected. We expected a lot of learning curves. We didn’t expect to be as successful as we have been.
The land they work on is no-till, and their plan is to eventually have a closed-loop or zero-waste farming system.
This means that every morsel of food will be used to feed chickens, goats and other animals. The compost created will nourish the soil in the garden and the manure produced will replenish the soil helping the soil to continually become healthier.
Zero-waste agriculture is a return to traditional farming practices that use and recycle everything produced.
Their food boxes offer around $25 worth of produce per week throughout the growing season. The boxes include leafy greens, heirloom tomatoes and herbs like tulsi that are adaptogens – substances known to improve the body’s ability to deal with stress.
Tulsi is an herb used in Ayurvedic health practices that is dubbed as “nature’s mother medicine.” Various studies show that tulsi has antimicrobial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – just to name a few of the benefits of this “queen of herbs”,
While there may be more to add to the list, since the food box program is new and they’re still experimenting, Tinney doesn’t want to promise certain vegetables in the event of crop failure. Last year they planted squash, but the crop was never harvested.
The surprise of the box is one of the things that makes investing in a vegetable CSA so exciting. It challenges you to cook with new ingredients almost every week.
After the pandemic hit and many weeks out of work, the challenge for Tinney was to become caretaker of the Tinney family’s 83-acre lot.
While managing 40 acres of land — about half of the family’s property is forested — the family was looking for ways to make the land more sustainable.
“Then came the sheep,” said Tinney, “to mow the grass.”
Considering the Tinney family is known locally for producing triple fine mix and topsoil, it seemed only natural to use dirt and soil to become more food stable.
Putting her 15 years of studying permaculture into practice, Tinney and her husband began experimenting with heirloom varieties and garden vegetables to make the land produce.
The farm, which Tinney calls a market garden, was built around syntropic farming practices that improve the soil while reducing water and nutrient input. This includes composting, companion planting, biodynamic farming practices, rainwater harvesting, and growing mushrooms to help trees extract nutrients from the soil.
“We’re going to make everything ourselves,” Tinney says, cheering as she talks about the future of the farm and the hot sauce they make in-house.
This year they plan to offer fresh cut flowers as they remediate more of the land in an effort to have the soil considered organic – a process that takes years.
“We like to think of it as our cosmic fairy tale farm,” Tinney says while explaining how she and her family came up with the name Folklore.
“The kids loved it. It’s about telling stories. About our grandmothers. About traditional agricultural practices.
The idea of the farm is to work within a holistic framework.
“Everything we do is a journey,” says Tinney. “We have no other goal than to learn, and we learn as we go.”
To learn more about Folklore Farm and invest in a food box, visit their website ahead of the next growing season. The farm is located on Fuller Avenue in Penetanguishene, and they welcome visits from the public to enjoy the animals, including Boone, the family’s new llama.