FarmOn was priveleged to be invited out to Sunrise Farm to speak with Don Ruzicka and see his family’s amazing 3rd generation mixed farm operation near Killam, Alberta. From pastured pork to grass fed beef and portable chicken coops, Sunrise Farm is producing some amazing, quality food for local consumers. They’re also deeply committed to caring for the environment, rehabilitating riparian wetland areas, and planting trees and bushes that attract beneficial species and increase biodiversity.
The Sunrise Farm website puts it like this:
These practices not only ensure our economic livelihood, but also contribute to the sustainability of our farm. If the farm is to be economically sustainable then it has to be environmentally sustainable. Clean water, healthy soil and fresh air are critically important to the health of the land. The wholesome food raised and grown on our farm, in turn, contributes to our family’s health and to the health of the consumers who support us. The greatest benefit of these practices, though, has been to help us understand the awesome responsibility we have to be stewards of Creation. By caring for the land and nurturing all that it grows and provides for us we are continually striving for our farm to be a model of enduring stewardship.
Don, how has holistic management changed your farm?
We started all of a sudden seeing meadowlarks and birds. And you know, what are they there for? We started over the years to understand that nature can become, and should become, one of the most important partnerships that we have in agriculture.
What does the future of Sunrise Farm look like?
Our oldest son, Matt is in the process of starting to buy the farm. So we’re looking forward to that. And I just hope I’ve got enough sand left in the top of my hour glass to teach him some of the things that I know, so he won’t make some of the mistakes that I made.
How do you and Marie work together?
This farm is not about me, although I’m the main manager. Marie has supported me in my decisions. Our decisions. Sometimes they’re my decisions – they become our decisions. And sometimes they don’t work out, and they’re still ‘our’ decisions.
Don Ruzicka’s Family Farm Story