Jennifer Osborn and Tim Fisher are the permaculture shepherds of All Sorts Acre Farm, near Ayton, Ontario, where they live happily with sheep, ducks, chickens, cats, and many kinds of dogs, each of which contributes to the farm.
Tim and Jennifer are proponents of Whole Animal Farming, and “strive to produce food that respects and protects the natural world.” Their philosophy of animal husbandry is directed by the five freedoms, currently expressed as:
- Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor;
- Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area;
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment;
- Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind;
- Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Their sheep have year-round access to the outside, and graze on the fresh, nutritious grass of the farm. All Sorts is not organically certified, but they use no growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics, and no chemicals on their wool. They believe that “happy animals mean healthy animals”.
All Sorts Acre is an active member of the Upper Canada Fibreshed, a community of producers working to build “a regional fibre system centered around local fibres, local dyes, and local labour.” If you would like to spend some very enjoyable and educational time on the farm, Jennifer offers farm tours and felting workshops.
All Sorts Acre will be at the market every other week from the end of lambing season in early summer until mid-winter. Jennifer brings an array of felting wool and yarn, pastured lamb, duck eggs, soap, wool crafts, and in summer, small batch sheep-milk ice cream.