VERGE ALUMNI PROFILE

MEET Vance and Brenda Barritt

  • Farmers and Food Producers, Earth Works Farm

  • Producers of grass-fed & finished beef, pasture & bush-raised pork (GMO-free and soy-free fed), and pasture-raised chicken & turkey (GMO-free and soy-free fed)

THE STORY OF VANCE AND BRENDA

Both Vance and Brenda were raised on family farms in Alberta, and both of them left their farms in their late teens to explore other horizons. Each followed unique paths, picking up a wide range of experiences and adventures along the way, getting to see and live throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Meeting while moving back to rural Alberta in 2010, they quickly formed a new partnership before marrying in October 2011 and moving back onto the farm where Vance was raised.

With a priority in repairing ecosystem damage from human activity, it seemed natural to apply the tools and knowledge from the permaculture and holistic management communities to farming and food production. Adopting Einstein’s saying that “those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act”, Vance and Brenda felt that they have a duty to act and “walk the walk” when it comes to sustainable farming. The birth of their son Max in 2013 has provided new insight and inspiration for the goals they have and the lives they lead.

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ABOUT EARTH WORKS FARM

Earth Works Farms strives to provide nourishing foods to families across Red Deer, Calgary, and Edmonton. Through their farming activities, Vance and Brenda aim to promote ecosystems that nourish biodiversity and promote healthy living as they raise species that are selected and managed in ways appropriate for the local conditions. Given their land base, climate and distance to the families they feed, that means a focus on raising livestock.

Earth Works Farms currently raise cows and pigs along with chicken and turkey in the summer. Since 2011, Vance and Brenda have also planted over 8,000 trees – fruit, nut, and shelter belts – along with other perennials like rhubarb and asparagus.

Earth Works Farm’s beef is grass-fed and finished. Vance and Brenda are building a herd of Galloway-Scottish Highland crosses which they believe are suitable for the prairie climate and range feeding. They breed for short legs, warm coats, and good finishing on grass, calving out from May on to avoid annual spring storms.

Earth Works Farm’s pork is raised 100% outdoors on pasture and in the bush – a pig’s natural environment. All purchased feed is 100% GMO and soy-free, coming from Albertan farms – most of it certified organic. Vance and Brenda raise Berkshire-crosses in their own farrow-to-finish setup, choosing pigs that produce a healthy fat cover that turns into a nutritious product.

Earth Works Farm’s poultry is also raised outdoors on pasture, with appropriate shelter and production. What’s unique about the setup is that Vance and Brenda have built a brooder that allows them to start their chicks and poults on grass in late May, ensuring that they start chasing bugs and snacking on forage from day 1. Again, all purchased feed is 100% GMO and soy-free, coming from Albertan farms – most of it certified organic.

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