Who Are The Whale's?

Fri, Feb 10th, 2023

It is a long-standing joke within our family that when a friend of ours, who is a teacher, brought their grade one class to our dairy farm for a tour, she told all the young students that they were going to be visiting “the Whale Farm”. When the students arrived at our dairy farm, there were a lot of confused looks. Eventually, one of the students politely asked when they were going to be seeing the actual whales on this Whale Farm. Luckily, our beautiful cows and calves curbed the students’ disappointment that there were, in fact, no whales at this Whale Farm.

The Whale Farm that we’re referring to is actually called Clovermead Farms located in Mapleton Township. Clovermead has been in the Whale family for seven generations. It began with James Whale who emigrated from England in 1845. He worked in Mississauga during the warm weather months. When winter began each year, he walked on-foot the 120 kilometers to begin the unimaginable project of clearing trees to begin building a new life for himself and his family. Every Spring he would make the trek back to Mississauga to earn some money once again. This venture took three years until he had enough land cleared, a dwelling, a horse, and could finally create a permanent home and farm for himself. Through all of those years, his wife and child waited and worked in England. Interestingly, James’ wife and child made the journey over to Canada before receiving his letter in the mail regarding where he could actually be found. We assume that when they set foot on Canadian land, they were at the whim of kind strangers to help lead them back to James and to their new and daunting life.

Whale Farm in 1850

Whale Farm in 1850

Generally, it could be said that farmers have always had a deep respect and understanding of their land. However, it was not always clear that humans could make such a large and lasting impact on the land. Throughout our families’ generations, we have worked toward sustainability. Decades ago, Enid and Elwin Whale, were champions of the recycling program in Mapleton Township. They set up a local depot at the community church for community members to drop off tin, glass and newspaper. They would then take all of the recycling to larger recycling centre in Kitchener.   There was no immediate personal benefit for them to do this, other than the knowledge that they were doing the right thing for their land and their community.

Since that time, their son Bruce Whale, and his wife Deborah Whale, have been great environmentalists. During his career, Bruce has improved Clovermead’s soil by planting wind-breaks, buffer and runoff strips, and by employing cover crops and no-till agriculture. Bruce and Deborah have planted over 40,000 trees on the farm to help with biodiversity, wildlife habitat and soil erosion.

In 2011, Bruce and Deborah’s son, Korb Whale, built an Anaerobic Digester on the farm. The process of anaerobic digestion involves bacteria breaking down organic matter (manure and organic waste from the food processing industry) to create methane and carbon dioxide. This gas (biogas) is used to create green energy. Through the process of anaerobic digestion, over 95% of green house gases are captured and used to create renewable electricity and heat. Enough energy is produced from this green system on Clovermead Farms that it can power 50 homes, as well as provide fertilizer for the land, and bedding for the animals.

Korb & Rya at Digester

In 2014, the Whale’s won the Canadian Dairy farming Sustainability award  ( Dairy Farm Sustainability Award Winner, Clovermead Farms ).  Since then, they have helped form a cooperative company of digester operators that diverts over 300,000 tons of organic waste from landfill to digesters every year. 

More recently, Korb Whale has been championing the “Net Zero by 2050” Dairy Farmers of Canada initiative. Korb advocates throughout the country for national coordination efforts of resources, in order to support all farms across Canada becoming as efficient as possible. True circular economies and sustainable models require environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and social sustainability, as pillars for their success. Through much trial and error over several decades, Korb demonstrates sustainable farming practices and strategies to achieve best management practices.

Please check out the Dairy Farmer’s of Canada “Net Zero by 2050” commercial. The opening scene and many others in this commercial were filmed at Mapleton’s Organic. See if you recognize it!  Net Zero by 2050 DFC commercial 

We view our new and exciting venture with Mapleton’s Organic, as a logical next step in understanding the principles of organic farming and how they relate to overall sustainable practices. We feel there is extreme value in local, on-farm production of dairy products. We also feel strongly that every individual would benefit from having an understanding of where their food comes from and how it is produced. So, we are excited about all that we can offer to our dairy industry, our community, and our environment through continuing[KW1]  the legacy of Mapleton’s Organic Dairy.

The last ten months since we took ownership of Mapleton’s have been intense and wonderful months, filled with learning, learning, and more learning! Our entire family, including our three young children have been involved in every step along the way. We are so proud of how our children have coped, and ultimately, thrived, during such a massive change in their lives.

We have also expanded our team of employees. We have new members; members who support both Clovermead and Mapleton’s, and members we have worked with us for many years. Each member of our team is valued as one of the most fundamental reasons that Mapleton’s is successful. Without all of the dedicated, passionate, hard-working, and kind individuals who keep the wheels turning every single day, we would be lost. 

And now you know about what motivated the Whale’s to continue building on Mapleton’s legacy! Can’t wait to see you at Mapleton’s Organic Dairy!

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Benefits of the Compost Pack

At Mapleton's we use a Compost Pack in our Main Dairy Barn.

To read more about this system and the benefits it offers our cows please visit here...

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