Fostering Life in Eastern Ontario - ALUS
At Kirkview Farms, Mike and Cora MacGillivray are committed stewards of the land, planting 5,000 native trees and shrubs with ALUS.
Kirkview Farms in North Glengarry, Ontario is home to many creatures. Our favourites are the MacGillivray family. Mike, his partner Cora, and their family are particular favourites, because they’ve made sure their land is home to so much more.
Kirkview Farms inhabits about 200 acres of land of an original property spanning 400 acres. The property has been in the MacGillivray family since the early 1800’s when the original land patent was issued. These days, the MacGillivray family raise Lowline Angus (or Aberdeen) cattle, swine, and poultry on their land.
Mike MacGillivray joined ALUS Ontario East in 2019. The ALUS program fit well with his vision for his farm as it transitions away from what some term conventional farming to permaculture and regenerative organic models of farming. With ALUS, Mike established 5 acres of windbreaks on his farm with more than 5,000 native trees and shrubs.
For Mike, the windbreaks assist with topsoil retention and ensuring cleaner water in the streams and rivers on and around his property. This sort of ecosystem health is critical for the sort of farming model he is cultivating. Beyond that, the windbreaks and native plants provide excellent habitat for wildlife—inviting more amazing creatures to call the MacGillivray’s land home. And the benefits accrue quickly.
“We started out seeing just a few birds following the cattle around, but now we see flocks of swallows and cow birds. We’re seeing lots of garter snakes and spiders now, too,” said Mike.
This works well for a guy who introduces himself by saying, “Hi, I’m one of the stewards of the land here at Kirkview farms.” As humble as he is knowledgeable about the needs of his livestock, his land, and the ecosystem that supports his work, Mike is dedicated to “cleaner, healthier food production.” And that extends to the birds, the bees, and the trees, as well.
Clearly, Mike is an engaged community member. He also hosts tours of his land for other ALUS participants and farmers in eastern Ontario to showcase his work and the benefits of projects such as the windbreaks he partnered with ALUS to create.
ALUS Ontario East is one of five ALUS communities supported by the Intact Foundation’s Adaptation Action Grants, building a more resilient Canada.