Enjoying a safe and shady lunch
The Gar-Eden Farms chickens are able to enjoy their meals in the safety of a chicken tractor. This agricultural innovation allows the chickens to eat safely from predators and the heat. Schoch explains he moves the chicken tractor four times daily. Thompson Goddard photo

CHESTERVILLE – Inside the Chesterville town limits, Tom and Amanda Schoch operate one of the few operational farms of this North Dundas community.

Recently The Chesterville Record visited Gar-Eden Farms, seeing first hand a bit of rural heaven in our community. Originally owned by the Merkley family, the farm was acquired by Garnet Droppo in the 1970s with the Schoch family purchasing their 21 acres in 2012 and moving there in 2017. 

At the end of the long laneway to the Schoch home is a large red barn, which Schoch explains was constructed in two parts. The older part of the barn was built in the late 1800s and the later addition in the early 1900s. Inside the barn Schoch proudly pointed out the 50-foot, hand hewn beams and mentions his plans include barn renovations in as historically respectful a manner as possible. Looking outside the window in the haymow there is a sense of rural bliss as their two goats frolic here and there, chickens enjoy their lunch safe and secure in their chicken tractor while in the garden, sunflowers reach for the sky, while vegetables provide food for the table. The South Nation River can be seen in the distance, with the Thompson subdivision completing the view.

 Throughout the property there are several gardens which Schoch has been developing over the past three years; they now contain several varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers and a small greenhouse also located onsite. He is committed to the concepts of permaculture, working with nature while engaged in agriculture. Schoch mentioned his crops are uncertified organic. He also has many rescue animals on his farm including his free range chickens and over 2000 trees from South Nation Conservation (SNC) that have been planted on the property to help stem erosion along the riverbanks.

Schoch explained during his successful media career, he learned the importance of the food we eat, how this food is produced and the socioeconomic aspects of food production. He plans to develop the farm as a rural education and wellness centre, so that people of all ages can learn about where their food comes from. There is plenty to look forward to at Gar-Eden Farms with the developing potential of 21 acres, being able to experience farm life and the opportunity to educate people as to where the food on their plate is produced.