After 11 years of living in Switzerland, a land rich in herbal culture, and Rob's experience working on a herb farm there, when we moved (back) to Canada to start farming, we knew there was only one kind of farm we wanted.
We have been building Little Piece of Paradise farm since 2018 and growing commercially since 2019.
Isabelle is from Vancouver, worked as a florist for many years and has a background in studying environmental science and working in corporate social responsibility and health and safety. She spent 11 years living and working in Geneva and mountain biking around Europe but wanted to move to the Kootenays to enjoy the region and be close to family.
Rob was born and raised in Dresden, Germany. He worked in the military for 10 years and also worked in corporate security and health and safety. Despite these jobs, he is an avid reader, obsessed with being outside and really wanted a farm in Canada.
We met in Switzerland and now have four children enjoy having a lot of people who come to live/work or visit the farm.
Regenerative Farming & Sustainable Farming
We have a 7.8 acre plot set in a slope along the Slocan river. The top of the property has wild yarrow, violet and dandelion, the slope has various fields inset and lots of elderberry, and we have trees and trees of hawthorn along the river.
We practice regenerative farming with our animals and try to be as sustainable as possible.
We have about 10 separate fields of various sizes on our land for growing different types of herbs (Mediterranean, native, raised beds with rich soil, medicinal fields, etc); an animal forest where our animals live when they are not grazing existing or new fields; and, a little island.
The farm is certified organic by PACS and we grow 70 varieties of herbs.
To start growing on new grass covered land we first put our goats and sheep, then our pigs, then prepare for planting. This fertilizes and prepares land without using a large tractor (we use a walk-behind tractor) and gives the soil life.
We also apply year-old manure and compost that we make from veggies scraps that we pick up weekly from 2 restaurants in Nelson.
In addition, we are part of the Loop program, which means that we pick up food not fit for human consumption from a superstore in Nelson to avoid it going to landfill. We unpack it all and feed the vegetables to our 4 goats, 8 sheep and 14 chickens, the day-old meat to our 3 dogs and 3 cats, the dairy and grocery to our 2 pigs and we compost the rest.
Keeping a wildlife corridor through the property so that bears, cougars, deer, elk , beavers and more can easily move up the river that we sit on, is an important feature that we keep despite the risk to livestock (who are in their houses at night) and protected by our 3 dogs who live with them.
We are certified organic and so use non-GMO organic seeds, no chemicals even in our fence posts, only approved organic soil, and we process and dry our herbs with equipment that only touches our organic herbs.
All herbs are processed and dried in our brand new workshop located on our farm. This facility is approved by Interior Health and is an organic facility since only our organic products are made here.
Wildcrafting on our land and leaving enough berries and rose hips for the birds in the winter each year are some more of the practices we use.
We also host a series of workshops teaching about creating herbal remedies from foraged and grown herbs animated by Jaycee Clarkson of Unfurl Wellness.