124 Grand Market


This article was written on 18 Jul 2012, and is filled under Vendors.

Victoria Farm

Victoria Farm is Mark Hayes. He became interested in gardening 5 years after planting his first small garden in his back yard. Since then raising vegetablels and learning about agriculture has become Mark’s number one passion and hobby.

Mark is passionate about growing things. He first got the bug five years ago after planting a small garden in my backyard. Things took off form there and last summer and he tended to a 3000 sq. ft. plot which was very successful. He had this project on his mind for some time. Last year things just all fell into place and he met Noreen and Don.

Mark was working as an historical interpreter at a provincial historic site. Noreen is the chair of the Smokey Lake County Heritage Board so we crossed paths often. He mentioned to her my idea for an old-fashioned historically minded market garden and she immediately offered the use of her land and equipment. Without Noreen and Don’s support this project would not be possible. Noreen and Don are dedicated to the advancement of local food in Alberta. They are as committed as I am to seeing this project succeed. They even purchased a field adjacent to their property so we can expand in Victoria Farm second year. They also laid a foundation onto which we will be moving an old farmhouse that was languishing on their property. It will serve as an office and welcoming center to visitors. The basement will be used for cold storage.

He is  inspired to farm in a way that puts nature and her requirements ahead of anything else and to always protect and enhance the soil at all costs. Mark is not concerned with labelling his produce as ‘organic’. What is grow at Victoria Farm will be grown with integrity and transparency.  Agriculture should be a shared experience between all of the stakeholders, which is everyone! We want to share as much as we can with our community. We have nothing to hide and don’t feel like we need an organic label to prove the quality of our produce.

The land in question covers 5 acres on several fields on the banks of the North Saskatchewan river, ten kilometers south of the town of Smoky Lake. It is quite beautiful. The plan in the first year is to intensively harvest two acres and establish a permaculture perennial food garden on one acre. In the long term they intend to increase the number of tree fruits and berries but this takes time so in the first few years these products will be in limited availability. For a complete list of what they are growing this year please refer to victoriafarm.tumblr.com. Follow them on twitter@victoria_farm for frequent updates and announcements. Victoria Farm aspires to actively engage customers and the region at large. Mark wants to create a dialogue that promotes these sorts of endeavors. Please contact them if you have any questions or want to get involved. victoriafarmab@gmail.com.

Mark’s goals in this project is to develop sustainable and natural techniques to produce top notch fruits, herbs, vegetables, and flowers. The ideas of permaculture, forest gardening, bio-dynamic and no-work agriculture influence Mark’s approach to growing. In his spare time Mark likes playing music with friends, cooking, camping and being outdoors.




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