From Hobby Farm to Holistic Haven

Story by Arlie and Brett Laroche

We, Arlie and Brett Laroche own and operate Farm One Forty, a unique regenerative farming and agri-tourism business near Vanscoy, and Odla Restaurant & Market in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We both grew up on farms, but pursued other careers before being drawn back to the land; Arlie worked in environmental consulting, and Brett still works off-farm as a civil engineer. We are also increasingly involved in managing Brett’s 4th-generation family farm north of Wakaw, SK, where we are gradually introducing new practices to the conventionally managed landscape.

Growth, sustainability, and a passion for food

Our roots and interest in agriculture run deep, but achieving our farming dream has required us to be bold and creative. It was a workshop on sustainable agriculture with Joel Salatin that drove us to transform our hobby farm to a recognized local business, Farm One Forty. Today, we market pasture-raised pork, grass-fed beef and lamb, honey, seasonal vegetables and grains. We follow a holistic management approach, raising multiple species of livestock and providing them with different sources of forage in rotation with other land uses. We have worked to reclaim alkali and saline area with perennials, and ensure wetland and riparian areas are protected from overuse. As we expand our operation, we are increasingly experimenting with multi-species cash crops, and polycrops grown for a grazing use. 

 

 

We believe deeply in the benefits of what we do, and we love to connect people with their food and the land it is produced on. We do this both by offering immersive on-farm experiences, and through our farm-to-table venture, Odla Restaurant & Market in Saskatoon. Odla sources its ingredients predominantly from Farm One Forty and other local farms, epitomizing our vision of connecting people with food that is simple, delicious, and deeply rooted in the land.

 

 

Recognizing the value of a holistic approach

As change-makers in the farming world, we have experienced our share of skepticism about new practices. With our backgrounds in science, we are keen to see the data in support of alternative and holistic approaches, and the range of benefits they provide.  We are thrilled to have Living Lab researchers working on ours and other farms across the prairies to quantify these benefits. We also know that people need to connect with real people and real stories, to understand the value of new practices for themselves. By working together as farmers, researchers and others, we are optimistic that the Living Lab can provide both the hard facts and the illustrative examples of how farming is at its best when it follows nature’s lead.