About Zócalo

What we do.

We are a dynamic Community Farm offering ecologically grown produce and programming.

  • We.grow no-till organic produce for household consumers, chefs and restaurateurs, and wholesalers.
  • We offer Wellness courses, coaching, and retreats for Eco-farmers
  • We partner with local organizations who have a shared vision of community, social justice, and ecological stewardship 
  • We offer tours, farm-stays, and host events on the farm
  • We run an Incubator Farm prioritizing Land-Acess for marginalized farmers

Our main vegetable offerings are Seasonal Salad Blends, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and other organic vegetables.  We sell at the Guelph Farmer’s Market, to local restaurants, and more.  Stay tuned on social media to find out when and where our produce is available!

 

Why we do it.

Taste. Stewardship. Connection. Justice.

We grow because we love the taste of what we grow. Our food has amazing flavour and nutrition because our soils are alive and thriving.

Our work as ecological no-till farmers is one way we can steward our resources and take care of our planet. Though we are a small farm, we work to influence climate change, soil erosion, social justice, and water conservation on a daily basis.

And we love being an access point for people in our local community, sharing our land, knowledge, and skills with our communities.  We love helping others create a meaningful connection to their food and to the land. Whether we are showing you around our farm, gardening with you, or exchanging delicious recipes with you, we look forward to connecting with you soon!

Our Story.

Sebastian Ramirez and Bethany Klapwyk founded Zócalo Organics in June 2014.

John Sutherland, the previous owner of the property, had a vision of land stewardship for the property that had led him to plant many trees on the property and care for the land organically for 25 years.  

From 2014-2020 Seb and Bethany offered high-quality Organic vegetables to the local community, hosted monthly events to bring community members to the farm, and trained new farmers through CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training).  

 With the “stress-test” that was 2020, it became apparent that the farm needed to evolve.  Bethany stepped into the role of primary farm-manager in 2021, and began re-structuring the farm to support the continuation of ecological agriculture, community building, and land-sharing on the property.

Zócalo Community Farm is committed to growing delicious no-till organic produce, sharing land and farming resources with marginalized farmers, creating new community models for ecological agriculture, and more. In order to continue our work, we need support as we transition.  If you are willing to offer a donation to the 2021 Farm Transition Fund, please do!

Our Approach.

We provide our customers with exceptional quality, nutrient dense, fresh, organic produce.

We are committed to maintaining the land for future generations; therein we do not use any synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilizers or GMOs. We promise to be transparent and communicative about our farming methods, inputs, and operations. We invite questions, concerns, and celebration regarding the culture we are creating towards a strong, just, resilient, and delicious food system.

For our first 3 years of business we were Certified Organic through Pro-Cert.  In early 2017, after consulting with all of our clients, we decided to stop being certified. Read our blog to learn more about this decision.  Our commitments to ecological farming methods remain the same.

Our Farm

Zócalo Community Farm is an 83-acre property between Guelph and Hillsburgh. The farm is a combination of greenhouses, gardens, hayfields, cedar forests, conservation wetland, a small orchard, and more!

The property has been farmed organically since the early ’90s by John Sutherland of Deerfields Nursery.  John made an incredible contribution to the tree cover of the property by planting hundreds of trees.

Twenty-three acres of wetland run like a ribbon through the centre of the farm and are an important part of the Grand River watershed. The Grand River Watershed has lost over 65% of its wetlands in the last 200 years to farming and development.  Wetlands moderate water flow, reduce flooding, and hold water during drought. They also improve water quality because of their ability to trap sediment and soil-bound contaminants.  Our wetland is part of a conversation program and will remain untouched.

We limit our use of heavy equipment on the farm and mainly accomplish our gardening tasks using no-till or low-till methods.  We use permaculture techniques, soil testing, mulches, and hand tools to grow great food.

Land Acknowledgment.

Our farm is on the ancestral land of the Attawandaron Peoples. The colonial processes by which we came to live on this land were and are deeply unjust, and have caused and continue to cause great harm to the original people of this land. At our farm, in our work and celebrations, we strive to be accountable for this. Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Sketch by our friend Carelynn.