Our Story

Our Story Unfolding…

Story coming soon…

Looking forward to 2023 and many years to come

Our Story NOW 2022


It has been a full and satisfying decade

It was a natural step for Owen to go from looking up through his eyes as an Arborist, to looking down through the the roots to soil communities. One thing just lead to the next, hoop houses, market gardens, fruit trees, biochar, wood vinegar, composting, maple syrup, woodlot management, animal husbandry, attending workshops, lecturing, researching and experimenting, documenting, networking,  hosting events. Our whole world became defined by land stewardship, family and friends.

Our patrons were local. By design, our outreach was kept within Caledon, with occasional speaking engagements in Guelph, Toronto and Mono. Individuals and groups came to us for customized information or experiences.

Our Story Then:

Insecticides and weed killers are the modern curse of environmental health; we do not need them and never did need them. They destroy vibrant soil. Healthy soil ecology, supported by healthy agricultural practices, creates a healthy world population… which reinforce our greatest asset and freedoms. This is how the family farm can – and will – change the world.

In 1964, David Graham purchased a 110-acre farm from the widow Ada McCannell. Dave was a secret wannabe farmer and operated the farm for many years as pig-rearing operation. Unfortunately, 30 acres of the farm (including the house and barns) were located within the village settlement area, and the towns people soon could not stand the smell! Dave’s farming career thus came to the end; the farm land and house where rented out.

His daughter Susan, though, was a different story. Being a sixth generation Inglewood-er, Sue walked by the farm every day on her way to and from school; she always dreamed of living there. 25 acres of that 30 that are located in village settlement were developed, and are now known as the South Slopes of Riverdale. The remaining five acres where the house and barn are located were preserved, however, and the rest of the property (that 70 acres that fall outside the village boundaries) were rented out to a local farmer.

One day, the ship-that-is Susan and the-boat-that-is Owen collided. The two set sail on a new course, guided by the stars in their eyes; neither one really knew where their (metaphorical) yacht would anchor. Owen, then a master arborist, become more and more disillusioned with the tree-care industry and finally sold his arboriculture business. The pair purchased the land from Dave, and their now combined dream of owning a farm really started to dig in. Riverdale Farm & Forest was forged. The soil was turned, seeds were sowed, and hoop houses were built. Two donkeys and Gus (Cheval Canadien) came first; then came the chickens and a working pair of Haflinger ponies, follows by pigs. The farm crew was finally rounded out by Thomas the Nubian goat.

Sue and Owen were fuelled at first by the threat of a peak oil crisis and the pending crash of society as a whole, but soon realized they were prepared physically…  not intellectually. As the pair became increasingly more involved in and concerned about their community, they also became more in touch with their own ecological footprint, and found that peak oil was not, in fact, the number one worry. Society is actually healthier and in better shape than we are led to believe by big media; the sky is not falling and the well is deep with water.

The pair began, instead, to focus on what was really important:

  • Fostering love and commitment between them and within their family and friends.
  • Nurturing clean, nutrient-dense food for their local community.
  • Growing rich, vibrant soil in order to leave “the campsite” better than they found it.
These are guiding principles for Riverdale Farm and Forest Inc.
May the well never run dry!