The Colour Farm is owned and operated by Becky & Guy Porlier. Becky is the farmer and Guy is the handsome beekeeper behind The Colour Farm Apiary.
Becky is deeply motivated by environmental regeneration. She studied anthropology in University and left a job in media relations to farm in 2010. But not owning a farm, led to a Masters Degree studying farming related activities and a series of farm-adjacent jobs that included a stint in Bhutan with organic farmers, research in Iqaluit on food security, many a farm internship and co-founding the Upper Canada Fibreshed, where she was the Executive Director for two years working with sheep and alpaca farmers. It was through this work that she found natural dyes and was encouraged to pursue a project with Colleen Lacourse and Michelle Fish – Milkweed Colour Farm. The culmination of all these paths led to (finally!) starting The Colour Farm in 2020, thanks to the best neighbours in the world renting her some land on a beautiful property in Callander.
Growing Plant-Based Colour
Fascinated by the idea of natural colour, and also keenly aware of the environmental benefits of natural dyes, we started thinking about cut flowers on our farm as a way to grow and experiment with plant-based colour. For centuries before the advent of synthetic dyes, plants, bark, lichens and mushrooms were used to dye textiles. Many, if not most, of the flowers and herbs we grow can be used as a natural dye. Just one of the ways we try to be better stewards of our landscapes.
We’re also part of a much larger and growing movement of people sourcing dyes and natural fibres from producers in Ontario, creating a bioregional fashion community, that values a soil-to-soil system of connection between what we wear and where it comes from. We’re proud Members of the Upper Canada Fibreshed and encourage you to dive into this movement too!
Our Colour Terroir
Every dye plant or mushroom has a season and preferred climate. This means that natural colour is not only seasonal, it also differs geographically. The colour we can produce in Callander is different from other places, meaning each distinct ecological region has a different natural colour palette.
The Colour Farm is located within the boreal forest, near the shores of lake Nippissing on land stewarded by the Anishinabenaki, Nipissing and Algonquin people for thousands of years. Currently the Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, who are of Ojibway and Algonquin descent have 11 communities within Nippissing First Nation. This land was colonized by European settlers, recognized by the crown under the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1840, Treaty 2.
As white settlers, we are committed to learning how to be honorable treaty people.