Habitat Farm is an 155 acre farm situated south of Salmon Arm, about
halfway between Vernon and Kamloops on highway 97 in the Okanagan-Shuswap region
of British Columbia, Canada. We are close to the settlement of Falkland, in
the Salmon River watershed. Falkland is a small community of about 300 people.
It has a grade school (a very good one), a couple of gas stations, two coffee
shops, a general store, a library, and a few small businesses. Falkland sports
Canada's oldest volunteer run rodeo, and is growing in reputation for hosting
an annual dog sled race. It's as rural a community as it can get. Habitat
Farm is still known locally as the old Walmsley place. There
are two reasons. Firstly, the Walmsley family, while apparently the second owners
of the property were probably the first to develop it from a timber site to
a farm. Migrating initially from Saskatchewan early this century, they also
lived here for a long time. They farmed this place about 35 years. Only when
the main house burned to the ground did they move on. We're told they were heartbroken.
The second reason has to do with the character of rural communities universally. You're only really acknowledged when you've been there two, maybe three generations. We've been here since 1992. The farm is in a narrow part of the Salmon river valley, about halfway up its 110 km length. There's some good bottom land, but the valley sides are poor quality soil. It's a good place for growing trees and sheep. Being in a generally northeast facing part of the mountain valley, we have a good mix of conifer and deciduous trees; Douglas fir, red Cedar, Larch, Spruce, some pine, both Lodgepole and Ponderosa, and white Birch, Alder, Cottonwood Poplar.
The farm shows evidence of having been logged three or four times this century, sometimes carefully, sometimes not, and retains a good age mix of trees. Between the stands are a few cleared sites, now useful as pastures.
The focus of this farm is purebred sheep production. It seems able to provide rough pasture grazing for about 60 ewes and the 100 or so lambs at their side during the grazing season, without compromising pasture health. We raise Clun Forest sheep for resale as breeding stock, sell the lower grade lambs via the farmgate to meat customers as far away as Vancouver. We use the wool mostly to make saddle pads, using a process I invented. We grow pasture raised chickens through part of the summer as well. Using a method credited to Joel Salatin, we are able to raise 5-7 LB. lean meat birds in about 60 days, medication free. We grow far fewer than we can supply to our farmgate customers.
Using an open-bottomed 10'x12' pen that is moved daily in a pasture, the birds not only benefit from being able to scratch clean ground for "dietary supplement", they do a great job of fertilizing my grass. This method of growing chicken is quite complementary to the way we raise sheep.
Coming from a place in Alberta with a poor well, we made sure our new farm had water. In fact it has five springs. We tap the one shown in the photo on the left, which provides us a gravity fed water supply for the house, two barns, a hydrant, and some pasture irrigation. We have good water.
Please don't hesitate to email us if you have any inquiries about Habitat Farm, the products we produce or the activities happening there.