It started in the spring of 2015, Madeleine Maltby was gearing up for her first season operating a backyard urban farm in the West end of Ottawa. She met Matthew Mason-Phillips in that same year and Backyard Edibles quickly grew into a formidable partnership dedicated to the principles of sustainable agriculture and devoted to the dream of farming the city. After seven successful seasons of backyard farming and creating an entire microgreen operation in the heart of the city, all while selling quality produce to retailers, restaurants and at farmer's markets, the duo decided it was time to seek out a farm of their own.
In 2020, Backyard Edibles moved it's entire operation to a beautiful NCC farm property in the east end of Ottawa and located next to one of Canada's most diverse ecological reserves, Mer Bleue Bog & Conservation Area. It is part of our mission to live and farm in harmony with this unique part of the city and nurture the land through careful observation and key ecological farming practices. Learn more
Madeleine's passion for farming began after her time studying ecological restoration in school. After an internship on a farm just north of Ottawa, Madeleine adapted what she learned on a rural farm and brought those practices to her hometown.
In the off season you'll find her exploring the outdoors, studying trees, playing guitar and learning to code.
Matthew grew up just outside of the city and always had an interest in working outside and growing food. After studying international development and working in community development and the trades, Matthew decided it was time to join forces with Madeleine and give farming a shot.
You can often find Matthew cooking up a storm and grooving to music, going on adventures with his pup, Winnie, or reading a good book with a great cup of coffee.
While Backyard Edibles strives to contribute to a healthy food system and strengthen communities around local food, we also know that it's not all about what comes out of the ground but what you give back. We use an ecological approach to growing food wherever possible on the farm by mimicking natural ecosystems right into the garden.
These are just some of the practices we follow when we're out in the field:
- minimal tillage when creating our garden beds leaving as much soil structure intact after the initial bed is formed
- utilizing mulch and tarps to protect our crops and soil
- creating our own compost using microgreen refuse and only buying organic certified compost & manure when needed
- use natural pest controls by strategically planting crops and using floating row covers to create a physical barrier
- promote biodiversity big and small by growing flowering crops to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and create wildlife corridors throughout the farm property
- practice crop rotating and enriching soil with cover crops
- we source organic non-GMO seeds (including our microgreen crops) wherever possible
- we grow our microgreens in an organic certified soil mixture with no amendments required
- reusing/repurposing as much as possible around the farm and within our operations
- using minimal packaging for our vegetable crops and RPET clamshell containers for our microgreens
- adhering to GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) protocols to ensure a safe and healthy workplace