Honoured at Organic Connections 2016
Gaston and Nicole are the proud parents of four children, Marc, Adam, Daniel and Janine. In partnership with their sons Marc and Daniel, they run a certified-organic grain and beef farm on land that was bought by Gaston's grandfather after he moved to Canada from France in 1894. The original quarter section lies just north of the one-street town of Grande Clairiere, southwest of Souris, and is still home to Gaston and Nicole, where sits the old farmhouse where Gaston grew up.
The Boulanger family decided to certify their farm in 2000, a process that took two years to complete with the transition of grain first, and then in 2004 to what are referred to as organic breeding cows. The farm now consists of roughly 1700 acres of organic pasture and prairie hay, and 800 acres of organic crop and forage - mainly alfalfa, flax, gluten free oats, and millet.
The Boulangers are supporters of the co-operative movement, both as participants and as leaders wherever they go. Gaston just finished a term on the OPAM Board of Directors, working with fellow organic farmers to keep an organic certifying body co-op functioning in the industry. Gaston and Nicole are avid supporters of OPAM open houses and field days, re-connecting with old friends and always eager to meet new ones.
In considering the Boulangers as "Organic Heroes", it is important to acknowledge their keen understanding of good animal husbandry, field and pasture management, and livestock marketing. They have blended this basket of skills with their support of producer co-operation and working together to accomplish goals. Gaston identifies market opportunities for organic beef cattle and then willingly shares information and transportation opportunities so small organic producers can participate in the organic beef market. Nicole assists with paper management and final settlements when loads are processed.
It is this "bringing producers together” that makes Gaston and Nicole Boulanger true "Organic Heroes".