Making a difference
Nick Baker, owner of Fiat Farm in Russell along with his helpers, delivers chickens to the Shepherds of Good Hope. Van Dusen photo

Tom Van Dusen
Villager Contributor

RUSSELL – Russell’s Fiat Farm is gearing up for another food sharing project through which supporters can fund the donation of pasture-raised chickens and pork to the Shepherds of Good Hope in Ottawa.

In 2018, Meghann and Nick Baker, owners of Fiat which isn’t named for the Italian car but is Latin for “let it be done”, provided three-quarters of a non-GMO hog cut and wrapped professionally, and 175 chickens also professionally processed to the Shepherds’ program which feeds homeless people and others in need.

Fiat became involved with the Shepherds after Meghann was asked if supplying chickens to the shelter would be possible.

Pork was substituted at the end of last year when Fiat ran out of chickens from a flock of 600 meat birds raised; the remainder of which was used for home consumption and sold to family and friends. Fiat also raises beef cattle and egg laying hens on 18 acres of land; along the way, Meghann is doing much of the raising of five children while Nick works in carpentry off-farm.

“I was told they made 1,000 sandwiches from just half of our chickens,” Meghann said of the Shepherds’ kitchen, explaining that clients of the program can drop by any time during the day for a sandwich.

The Bakers take pride in growing food that’s local and sustainable; they practice permaculture, integration of land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies, imitating no waste closed loop systems seen in nature. Permaculture applies holistic solutions in both rural and urban contexts. The couple also belongs to the Heritage Livestock Club of Eastern Ontario.

The project mounted by the Bakers is formally known as Sponsor a Chicken: Feed the Hungry. The cost is $25 per four-pound bird which covers basic expenses. This year, Meghann hopes to fund 300 chickens of the 600 allotment for the Shepherds, along with three or four whole hogs.

She plans to launch the 2019 food sharing campaign during the annual Living Locally Fair at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School Jan. 19.