It’s kind of bonkers how many amazing teachers, makers, producers and other creative people are involved in the festival. Why give your hard-earned dollars to mega corporations when you can show your gratitude for your local farmers and business owners and give some truly amazing gifts? We’re not encouraging buying when you normally wouldn’t. Rather… if you’re already going to head to the mall for gifts this season, pause for a moment and consider supporting these farmers, makers and small businesses who work tirelessly to demonstrate and grow alternative systems, take time to educate and share their skills, and are passionate about the work they do.
FLOCK, the 1st in a series of guides of fest-related goods, features products related to animals – sheep, alpacas, bees, chickens, and more! Enjoy!
1. Longway Homestead
Fibre farmer Anna Hunter joined the fest teacher family for 2019, and brought some sheep love our way with her workshop, Sheep School! Participants dug in to learn what it takes to lovingly shepherd a flock of sheep. She also ran a Community Experience where fest-goers brought cloth napkins and other fibre-goods to dip in an indigo dye vat. So fun. Anna runs Longway Homestead, which is home to Manitoba’s first and only wool processing mill. Head to their website for a variety of wonderful goods, including wool pillows, toques, yarn, and more. You can even get a meaningful $10 gift for those holiday exchanges – a set of local wool dryer balls!
2. Ferme Fiola Farm
Fibre Farmer Christel Lanthier teamed up with Anna Hunter and shared her fibre flock wisdom for the Sheep School workshop. We are so fortunate to have such skilled teachers who are interested to share their knowledge. Christel farms at Ferme Fiola Farm and creates a variety of hand-crafted goods for sale, including yarn from her fibre flock, lamb breakfast sausage, sheep tallow salve, and more. UPDATE: We just heard that Christel is updating her shop with even more goodness – check back in to her shop later this week so you don’t miss out!
3. Beeproject Apiaries
Veteran fest teacher, Chris Kirouac ran the popular Intro to Beekeeping workshop again this year, along with Cesar Flores. Most of us love the natural sweet treat of local honey, and what’s better than having your honey and supporting local bee habitat and your local beekeepers, too? Beeproject has loads of sweet gifts – for the stockings and pantries of friends & family – or maybe your own ; )
4. Enchanted Grove Alpacas
Two of the adorable alpacas from Enchanted Grove Alpacas stole the show at the fest! We were over the moon to have them as guests, and attendees shared our enthusiasm not only for them, but also for teacher Sandra Brown’s Alpacas 101 workshop. Sandra has a wide variety of alpaca fibre goods for sale through Enchanted Grove Alpacas – gifts for children and adults alike, including cozy thrummed mittens, alpaca socks and sweet alpaca stuffies!
5. Bird & Bee Honey
Natalie came out to the fest as a first-time fest teacher this year, to share her passion for the bird part of her business – chickens! We got to pop into parts of the Backyard Chickens workshop and what we heard was great. Natalie is not only passionate about her backyard flock, but also about urban beekeeping. You can find the sweet rewards of her hard work as a beekeeper, in the form of honey and also jewellery over at Bird & Bee Honey.
6. Luna Field Farm
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lydia & Wian couldn’t make it to teach their Pastured Layers and Pastured Broilers workshops on fest day. They were missed – they’re considered fest family, having taught at each fest so far. We couldn’t imagine not including them and their beautiful farm foods in this guide. Over at Luna Field Farm, you’ll find a selection of grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured-raised pork, and pasture-raised chicken and eggs.
7. New Society Publishers
One of our sponsors, New Society Publishers has a plethora of publications to help you along your urban or rural homesteading journey. For our Flock Gift Guide, here are a selection of our favourites. Note that the festival receives a percentage of sales for books sold via these links. Thank you for supporting this grassroots event!
From sourcing to butchery, mindful meat eating for the modern omnivore by Meredith Leigh
Packed with personal experiences and backed up by expert veterinary advice and scientific studies, Raising Goats Naturally brings together a wealth of practical information on raising goats for the love of it and using their milk and meat to become more self-reliant.
A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives by Christy Hemenway
Emphasizing the intimate connection between our food systems, bees, and the wellbeing of the planet, The Thinking Beekeeper will appeal to the new breed of beekeeper who is less focused on maximizing honey yield, and more on ensuring the viability of the bee population now and in the coming years.
8. For the little homesteaders, this printable Bee Inspiration Pack is full of learning and fun. Makes great stocking stuffer – or, tuck it away for Spring Break!
// poems and quotes
// bee-friendly flowers
// DIY tutorials
// book lists and other resources.
Print out the PDF and learn how to make a solitary bee hotel, beeswax fire starters, herbal honey, and more.
9. Selkirk Home Hardware
Head over to this post for links to all the great animal related homesteading goods you can find at Home Hardware, including electric fencing, chicken coops, waterers and feeders, hive equipment, and more!