The Axtens have a special place in my heart - Derek & Tannis took a chance on a small biz and have continued to be our go-to partners for making our delicious Chilla Mix 💖
Meet Derek & Tannis Axten
They are 4th generation farmers who steward nearly 600 acres of farmland in Minton, Saskatchewan Canada. Our amazing procurement partners Axo Regenerative Foods introduced us and from our very first conversation, it was clear that the Axtens deeply valued the land & soil.
One of the most compelling things about the Axtens is their transparency and willingness to invest in continuous learning and un-learning (something that is deeply & personally important to me*).
They started out - like many other farmers who grow at-scale – with industrial agricultural practices and values, being highly yield focused. Their farming decisions (pesticides, increase in fertilizers, investment in equipment) were extractive and focused on getting the land to yield as much crop as possible.
Over time, through the help of mentors and peers, they were introduced to the perspective of understanding land as a living organism - a shift that resulted in them transforming their farming protocols. In Tannis’ words: For every action that we take on our farm, we consider how it will affect the soil and the millions of microorganisms that live within it. The soil is a living ecosystem that can feed our plants the nutrients they need when they need them. We make our own compost to boost our soil biological community, changed our fertilizer program so that it is focused on micronutrients not harmful to the biology and use controlled traffic farming to reduce compaction of the soil. No one likes their home squished! We do our best to be “Loyal to the Soil”.
Over the coming weeks – we'll do a series of short posts about the Axtens, their specific regenerative practices & journey of the desi chickpea from their farm to your plate.
And as we showcase our sourcing partners, I'll likely muse out loud about my own relationship with food, queerness, and tell you a bit more about the story behind Ojaswe as well. Stay tuned!
*As a queer person of color who came out later in my life, I believe deeply in the power of un-learning & re-learning. We’re all going to make mistakes (some worse and more public than others) - there's no learning without mistakes, after all. The best thing we can do is to decenter our ego, learn from our mistakes, grow...and then make some new ones.