About Our Farm
Larch Grove is a grassroots organic farm located near the town of Barrhead, Alberta, approximately an hour and a half northwest of the city of Edmonton. Our names are Thomas Lock and Jenna Butler. We’re both teachers — Thomas teaches Grade One and Jenna teaches college students — and we share a deep love of education and the outdoors. That’s how we ended up working our day jobs while building a farm from scratch.
We started the farm in 2006 with the intention of preserving the property in its original condition as much as possible while still making our living from the land. The farm consists of 135 acres of northern boreal forest and muskeg, virtually untouched, in addition to approximately 25 acres of cultivated land put to hay and grass.
Larch Grove is a non-certified organic farm. We cultivate a one-acre garden and additional small grain fields, all cleared by hand. It’s essential to us to know where our food comes from and what goes into it. Over time, we’ve learned that the best way to access locally grown, high-quality food is to grow it ourselves. Because we’re firm believers in organic practices, we use no pesticides or chemicals whatsoever in our garden. Crops are fed with homemade compost created from garden cuttings and grass, plus worm castings and “worm tea” from our vermicomposting program. These amendments result in healthy plants and produce that is clean, nutritious, and tastes great. We focus on growing heirloom vegetables and flowers that face a threatened future due to GMOs, seed loss, and the passage of time.
We grow in raised beds tended by hand because our farm has a relatively high water table. Additional watering is required only in very dry years, and when we do irrigate, we use rainwater as much as possible. We also keep a large, home-constructed greenhouse where we grow tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Bees are the newest addition to the farm, and from two organic hives, we hope to expand into a small commercial apiary in the coming years. A flock of chickens, a few milking goats, and a strawbale gathering house for the artist residency are also part of our dream.
Thanks for dropping by! We hope you enjoy looking around the site and seeing what’s new and wonderful at the farm this season.