Achillea Endeavours Supports Bluegrass Farm’s Rock Mineral Research

In 2017 Achillea Endeavours was pleased to support Bradley Wright of Bluegrass Farm with a research grant to support his experiment of using rock minerals to improve carrot flavour and nutrition.  According to Brad’s view of soil science, “there is not enough consideration of micronutrients, trace nutrients and rare nutrients. As agriculture has relied heavily on yields, the science has focused on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.” It is Brad’s belief that farmers can achieve better tasting, healthier food, “through a combination of increasing nutrient availability via rock mineral additions, increasing soil biology diversity, and increasing organic matter and soil organic carbon.”

His project involved using three separate rock minerals as soil amendments to a carrot crop. The carrot was chosen as it is a vegetable that most people can taste the difference conventional and organic. Testing was conducted with a refractometer to determine brix levels. Brad kept track of three different carrots beds, completed the brix testing and had his CSA members participate in a taste test.

Of the three rock minerals applied, the application of basalt to the soil resulted in that bed of carrots having the highest brix levels. These were also the carrots that CSA members identified as having the best taste and sweetest flavour.

As a result of this research study, Brad feels, “that there is a need for more holistic soil science, where we consider the role of micronutrients not just on plant yield, but on plant nutrition, soil microorganism activity and human health. There is an urgent need to remineralize the land with micronutrients and trace elements that play critical roles in the agroecosystem.” He concludes, “rock minerals are cost effective, slow release, and readily available.  In contrast to conventional chemical fertilizers, rock minerals offer a low risk of groundwater contamination and are compliant with the organic production regime.  Our initial experiment has shown enough promise that it is worth further investigation of additional rock dusts on carrots and other vegetable crops at Bluegrass Farm.”

You can read all the details of this project here.


Tolstoy’s A Confession

Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Tolstoy’s portrayal of a man seeking his own soul and spirit is as relevant today as ever.”

Saturday March, 3 at 2:00 pm, Filum Productions and Achillea Endeavours present:

A Confession

At the height of his fame and success, Tolstoy realized he had no idea why he was alive.

Based on the book by Leo Tolstoy, performed by Peter James Haworth and directed by Julie LeGal

This is a benefit performance for

Tickets are available here.

Culture and Agriculture

Achillea Endeavours presents Michael Schmidt as their keynote speaker at their annual fundraising event, Saturday April 8th at the Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe St, Ottawa, at 3pm.


Michael Schmidt is an extraordinary Canadian farmer and advocate for food rights. Raised in Germany with a Masters in Agriculture, he practices biodynamic farming on a co-operative farm operation, Glencolton Farms, in Durham, Ontario.

For the last 23 years Michael has been battling with the province of Ontario, British Colombia, and Alberta for the right of people to consume unpasteurized milk. In 1994 and 2006 Schmidt’s farm was raided by armed officers, his equipment was seized, all dairy products were destroyed and Michael was charged with 20 offences for distributing unpasteurized milk. Recently on October 2, 2015 the farm was again raided with a similar flavour. For decades Michael has fought many legal court battles, defending himself and others, to defend the fundamental right for people to make informed choices what they put in their body. To this end, he has also helped to develop community farm ownership. Michael works with young people from all over the world through an apprenticeship program. He is also an accomplished classical musician, conductor and has provided opportunities nationally and internationally for artists to perform in his Symphony in the Barn.

This year’s fundraising event will once more enable us to offer two grants, the Farmer’s grant and the Artist’s grant. To read more about our past recipients of these grants visit here.

2016 Farmer & Artist’s Grant Recipients

Erin Krekoski of Rock’s End Farm received a portion of the Farmer and Artist’s Grant to run a series of workshops on our ecological fibreshed.*  As part of the series, participants learned how the farm raises organic Icelandic wool as part of the local fibreshed, as well as ways to support local fibre producers. Rock’s End Farm partnered with a team of master fibre artisans for each of the workshops which included, Learning to Knit: From Sheep to Cowl with Anna Beaudet, Natural Dyeing with Amanda Carrigan, How to Create a Wet-Felted Bird Pod with Diane Lemire, Peg Loom Weaving with Susan Berlin, Preparing a Raw Fleece with Susan Berlin and Traditional Padraig Slippers with Anna Beaudet.

The workshops were well attended and a great success!

*”This term refers to the fibreshed products produced through ecological agriculture. Just as people are becoming more concerned with how their food was produced, so too must we concern ourselves with how our fibres are produced. Ecological agriculture means healthy soils, better water quality, maintaining habitat for pollinators, birds, and wildlife, and a significant reduction in chemical agricultural inputs in the soil and in the animals. As a fibre enthusiast, you can help to support farmers in our region that are shifting towards more sustainable, ecological practices.”


The other recipient of the grant money was environmental artist Marc Walter. He partnered with Franktown House Flowers to demonstrate and install pollinator insect hotels. Visitors were invited to lend a hand in creating these structures. A great day was had by all.

Announcing the Farmer & Artist’s Grants Recipients


Achillea Endeavours is thrilled to announce the winners of our new farmer’s and artist’s grants. Those of at Achillea Endeavours want to thank each and every one of you for your applications. We received 21 applications in total. 16 were submitted for the Farmer’s Grant and 5 for the Artist’s grant.

All of the proposals were excellent and we loved all the projects so much. Proposals covered much ‘ground’.  We had projects that focused on soil improvement, research, grain preservation and bee survival. From a teen novel to puppetry, we also received quite the bouquet of creative endeavours. In fact, it was such a difficult decision to make that we needed an extra day to choose the recipients!

After much deliberation, we are very happy to announce the recipient of the Farmer’s Grant is going to Rock’s End Farm and their project Our Ecological Fibreshed: A Fibre Arts Workshop Series.

The Artist’s grant is going to Marc Walter and his Butterfly and Insect Hotels installation at Franktown House Flowers Farm.

Once again, thank you to all who submitted applications. We are inspired and heartened by all your amazing project ideas. We look forward to our next round of fundraising efforts to help create a culture of support for Ottawa area farmers and artists who care for the land and people’s relationship to it.


Sylvie Richard, Nick Aplin & Amber Westfall

Achillea Endeavours Farmer and Artist’s Grants


Update: The deadline to apply for this grant has been extended to March 31, 2016

Update on February 25th: A generous donation of $500 has been added to the farmer’s grant for a total of $2100 available!

Call for proposals.

Do you have a project related to your farm or connected to farming that is rooted in holistic care of the earth? You may be eligible for our Farmer or Artist’s Grant.

Achillea Endeavours is pleased to offer two grants to the farming and artistic communities of the Ottawa area.

Farmer’s Grant  

This grant is for certified & non-certified organic farm and garden businesses who are looking for funding to help support a project that falls within the following eligible categories: soil improvement or research on soil improvement, other research on ecological gardening practices, educational events/workshops, self-education, community development, artistic project.

Artist’s Grant

This grant is for an artistic project that is connected to ecological farming and agriculture. The aim of this grant is to foster relationships between farmers and artists by engaging in an artistic process that is inspired by the life of the farm through visual arts, literary arts, music, movement arts, or puppetry/dramatic arts.

The deadline for both the Farmer and Artist’s grant is Thursday, March 31st 2016.

Download the Grant Application.

We look forward to hearing from you!