About Highfield Farm
Highfield Farm is a project of the Compost Council of Canada and the City of Calgary. Through land revitalization, regenerative food and community building, Highfield Farm is transitioning an underutilized brownfield site into and active urban community farm hub.
Highfield Farm is located on a 15-acre piece of underutilized space in the industrial area of the City of Calgary. Although previously used as a site for the Blackfoot Farmers' Market, it has spent over a decade lying vacant.
Aligning with the Calgary Food Action Plan created in 2012, the farm site was selected as a site for urban agriculture and the City of Calgary opened a call for proposals in 2017.
The Highfield Community Farm Hub proposal was spearheaded by a group of local food and environment stewards in partnership with the Compost Council of Canada. Their proposal was largely focused on the revitalization of the land through regenerative farming practices and soil building all for the goal of growing nutrient dense food and creating a safe and vibrant community space. The City of Calgary accepted the proposal, and after a couple of years of paperwork and permitting, Highfield Farm officially opened in 2019.
Being in the industrial area of Calgary puts Highfield Farm in a unique position to revitalize the land. Growing is currently limited to above ground until the proper testing can be secured to ensure there is no soil contamination on-site. Primary testing has revealed the soil looks clean, though very degraded and void of life and nutrients.
To accommodate the restrictions, and begin building soil, the growing spaces are covered with a thick layer of mulch before soil is brought in for beds. Natural soil amendments such as compost, compost tea and mycrohrizals are used to bring life back to the soil.
All growing is done using regenerative agriculture practices including companion planting, drip irrigation and solar power. Highfield Farm recognizes that we are part of the larger natural system and we respect and honour the natural processes that exist and help us to be successful in growing nutrient dense, healthful, foods.
Founding Co-Farmer and Compost Kid
Mike Dorion has been making healthy compost and educating about soil biology for more than 7 years. His company, Living Soil Solutions, provides compost, compost extracts, consulting and educational programming to a variety of residential and commercial customers, community groups, and schools in Alberta and Canada. Living Soil Solutions is currently supplying compost services to many local urban and rural farmers.
Founding Co-Farmer and Logistics Lad
As a 4th generation Calgarian, Jack grew up exploring the Bow River valley before acquiring a BSc. Chemistry from the University of Calgary. He worked for 4 years supporting a world class applied geochemistry lab that exposed him to broader environmental science. While having a severe case of Imposter Syndrome as a research assistant Jack stumbled into Permaculture, which allowed him to start applying practical, science based, design to the world.
Jack has spent the past 8 years working on scaling community landscaping projects and urban farms in Calgary, using a combination of for and non-profit entities. The most recent is Highfield Farm, a pilot project with the City of Calgary, partnered with the Compost Council of Canada, to turn 16 acres of leased land into a food and compost producing urban farm.
Founding Co-Farmer and Do-It-All Dude
Jeremy Zoller specializes in edible landscapes, gardens and food forests through his company Sunshine Earth Works. He is an experienced finishing carpenter and has been working with several key local landscape and project management professionals for years. Jeremy has also co-managed a greenhouse heirloom tomato operation and has extensive board and volunteer experience in the local arts and culture scene.
Founding Co-Farmer and Cool Stuff Acquisitions
Jay Fish has 15+ years of construction landscape and earth works experience including residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal jobs with crews as large as 30. His current position gives him 20+ years in plumbing, drain cleaning, site and spill clean-up, waste collection and disposal. He has intimate knowledge of safe handling procedures and disposal protocols for many waste streams and experience with testing, monitoring, and records for water quality. He has expertise in Permaculture Design and commercial greenhouse food production.