The De Mazenod Farm, a 19-acre property owned by the Diocese of Hamilton, is located in rural Ancaster, Ontario. The land had been sitting idle when Fr Tony suggested to the Diocese that it could be put to use to support the De Mazenod programs and contribute back to the community. The Farm will grow produce and raise egg-laying chickens to provide food for Hamilton’s hungry who visit the De Mazenod Door, 365 days a year.
Our goal is to create a sustainable source of healthy, locally-grown food for our guests. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, we will produce a whole bounty of goodness and cultivate a community of love and compassion.
Work on the Farm began in summer 2020, tilling the soil to prepare for the land’s first harvest. The first seeds were planted on March 4th, and the first egg laying chickens arrived on March 30th, 2021. Over 40 types of vegetables and herbs including beans, peppers, potatoes, beets, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower have been planted and are hoped to be grown on the Farm. In fact, the peppers have already started to grow very nicely.
Once harvested, the produce will be sent to the De Mazenod Door kitchen, where it will be used to create homemade meals for the Door guests including hearty soups, stews and casseroles. Any excess produce will be shared. We look forward to sharing the bounty and blessings from this Farm with other community partners, such as the Good Shepherd Centre and Hamilton Food Share. Together, we can make a difference.
The 36 laying chickens will provide eggs for every Tuesday’s breakfast: an egg baked in a golden toast nest, among other meals. Guests already eagerly look forward to their “eggs in a basket” and will soon find it even tastier when it is made with farm-fresh eggs. We have already welcomed the first hive of bees to the De Mazenod Farm. Thanks to the amazing ladies transferring the hive, we also received a very insightful lesson about beekeeping.
There are also other projects that ministry hopes to establish at the Farm to serve even more members of the community. A special garden will grow flowers that will decorate the church for special feast days and Sundays during the summer and fall. Prayer spaces on theFarm, where people can get away and relax in nature, will also be created.
Finally, in an effort to engage, educate and empower all who visit the Farm and wish to lend a helping hand, the Farm will welcome volunteers from every walk of life. This includes frontline workers who suffer with PTSD and guests of the DMDO who are eager to contribute in any way that they can. The Farm will offer meaningful, hands-on work for those in alternative justice, as well as engaging and educational field trips for students.
With homelessness and hunger on the rise in Hamilton, the DMDO program is committed to continually evolving and growing to the meet this need in new and innovative ways. In October 2020, the program announced its Housing initiative, which has since grown to include 3 homes, offering affordable housing and support to move people safely off the streets. The door is the symbol of openness, welcome and hospitality and now with our Farm, it is also a place of new growth, sustenance and abundance.
Want to help? The De Mazenod Door is solely supported through the generosity of people who want to make a difference in the lives of the poor and marginalized in our city. Those interested in supporting the De Mazenod Farm can donate by clicking on the donation button or by mailing donations to De Mazenod Door Outreach, 440 King Street East, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 1C6. Donations can also be made by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.