Our Farm History
We, Frank and Edna Foster, with three school children under 9 years, emigrated from the Northumberland Borders area of the United Kingdom to Nova Scotia over 30 years ago. Settling to farm at Linden on the Northumberland Straight in 1976, the lay of the land reminded us of the Borders' leas, meaning good pastoral grassland for fattening and growing livestock, i.e. cattle and sheep. This led to our farm name: Linden Leas in 1979.
On these leas or pastures our beef is carefully grown in a traditional manner as in the pre 1930’s history of beef self sufficiency in Nova Scotia and our native Northumberland over many generations of direct family involvement. Tradition is to work with nature, striving to keep quality feed in front of growing stock year round. The cows calve at grass in the spring and are out wintered after weaning, and thus are as much as possible in tune with the seasons. Our cattle are fattened by grazing grass/clovers in situ, except during the winter we graze and feed brassicas, together with hay and other stored forages. To provide quality beef year round in the winter fattening period, the calves are loose yarded on manure pack bedded areas to retain and re-cycle the maximum amount of farm yard manure back into soil fertility.
It has been known since the Roman Governor Agricola in first century Britain that 2.8 tons of FYM per acre are needed to replace annual cropping other than grazing in situ by ruminants. Our system optimizes the related carbon cycle removing over one tonne of C02 equivalent from the atmosphere back into soil carbon/soil fertility annually. We have not used fossil fuel fertilizer in 15 years and have almost doubled our soil carbon content offsetting more than 15 million liters of gas burned by vehicles annually. Our grassland farming and stewardship systems of the past are now being recognized by new scientific enquiry to sequester or offset more than five times the carbon of trees or unused grass back into soil fertility. This is the mirror opposite of grain/arable systems for grain fed meats where soil carbon is volatized into atmospheric C02 equivalents or greenhouse gas (see links for scientific evidence).
Our goal is to work in harmony with nature to supply the people of Nova Scotia consistently with top quality, healthy beef products as enjoyed by countless generations, similar to a virtual hunter gatherer diet in tune with human evolution of body and brain.
Over time our children and their children have become an integral part of the family farm. Presently there are three generations living and working on the farm, with the added advantage of our eldest daughter being a practicing large ruminant animal vet, with extensive experience in health of animals including meat inspection.
This is a picture of some of our original cross bred bulls in our ‘Bull Battery’field where they spend four months grazing and getting fit before turn in with the cows.