Success Stories


December 19, 2018

Coming Full Circle


Since first meeting at Dalhousie University's Agricultural College, there's been a certain circularity to Mark and Sally Bernard’s mutual history. Mark was creating a business plan for organic grain production when the two came together as a couple. Their growing interest in organic farming evolved from a philosophy to encompass their own business; they moved to the Freetown, P.E.I. farm Mark grew up on as a child, and began transitioning 550 acres to organic as a mixed-purpose multi-generational support system. Now they’re raising their children there.

East Coast Organic Feed Mill, part of their company Barnyard Organics, became the Maritimes's largest organic feed mill with their 2018 purchase of a more substantial facility, increasing capacity by 75 percent. With expanding demand for organic livestock feed and bulk organic grain, as well as their ability to roast soybeans and clean custom seed, they'll contract other farmers to grow additional grain.

Through Food Island Partnership's Food Propel program, they're evaluating next steps in the developing frontier of organic grain. “We weren't expecting to be accepted into the program since we produce animal feed, not human food,” says Sally. “We needed guidance, and through our Food Propel mentors we're examining marketing, retailing, human resources, with a clear idea how to grow our business. When humans, animals, and crops connect through an organic food system, everyone benefits from a stronger, more secure sector."

Much of their product goes to P.E.I. and Nova Scotia feed outlets, but they're looking to expand markets, including high-end pet stores. They've also created a "Rent A Chicken" business, providing market research into a previously untapped consumer -- the backyard/urban farmer/homesteader -- with the potential to grow their enterprise significantly. Recently, they secured a contract to feed 6,000 laying hens with the expectation it'll increase to 12,000 hens within the year. All of this reinforces their commitment to organic production "from seed to feed" and soil health. "Looking back at where we started, it's rewarding to see our ideas reach fruition," says Mark. "Our four children are getting interested in the farm, as well.”

By Magner Ink (www.magnerink.com). This is one in a series of articles on the P.E.I. Food Cluster.       

 

previous12345678next
July 21, 2020
FAUX GETS REAL
At a recent Food Propel trip to San Francisco's Fancy Food Show, Julain Molnar was not surprised to more

June 30, 2020
BODING WELL FOR THE FUTURE
With enviable economic growth into early 2020, Prince Edward Island -- and its flourishing food more

February 28, 2020
GROWING DISTINCTION
Graduating with an M.B.A. in 2009 at the height of the Recession, Martin O'Brien left the U.S. more

June 28, 2019
TAKING THE LEAP
Carla and David Annand are ambitious. They launched Annand Clams in 2013 in an 800-square-foot more

May 30, 2019
CRAFTING WITH CONSCIENCE
Upstreet Craft Brewing opened its first location in Charlottetown, P.E.I., in June 2015. more

April 1, 2019
THE HIGHWAY OF PIES
The first person to complete both the Food Xcel and Food Propel programs through PEI’s FIP more

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER!



Events