Meet Mike Ward
Founder, Crossroads Valley Farm
Expertise: Pastured poultry, forest raised pigs, pasture management, specialized market gardening, outdoor forest log mushrooms, small farmer marketing and sales
Mike is a professional engineer with over 15 years of experience working in sales and marketing for large corporations. After taking his Verge PDC and looking at where food comes from, Mike started to slide down the proverbial “Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole.” Escaping the standard lifestyle was a challenging proposition, but in 2013, Mike took the plunge, quit his job, and moved to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, with his family, buying a 107-year old house on 150 acres in the process. After extensive home renovations and land restoration, he founded Crossroads Valley Farm.
Getting a small scale farming operation going from scratch is always a hard job, despite what the famous farming/agriculture books may say, with theory always bumping up against the constraints of reality. Fortunately, Mike’s business skills, coupled with his years experimenting with and observing farming strategies such as hugelkultur beds, swales, raised beds pastured pens, and forest management, have proved invaluable in helping him grow his direct-to-market business.
As a self-professed farm geek, Mike also uses his farm and his website to incubate new ideas around small-scale farming, regularly publishing Youtube videos (see below) and hosting on-site tours. The idea is not only to grow food sustainably, but to also make it work financially for small farmers.
About Crossroads Valley Farm
The vision of Crossroads Valley Farm is to provide healthy and sustainable food off the land for future generations. Serving Antigonish and the surrounding areas through farmers markets, an online farm store, and direct marketing, it strives to “farm customers” by growing and raising agricultural products that they can come to call their own.
In 2016, Crossroads Valley Farm pastured and sold out its flock of 500 broiler meat chickens, with plans of 1,200 broilers in 2017 along with ten to fifteen forest-raised and apple finished pigs. In addition, the farm is planning on offering forest mushrooms (oysters and shiitakes) which will be available through the season. Mike is in no hurry – he is intent on building Crossroads Valley Farm slowly and letting his customers lead him to the products and services that benefit everyone.