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2nd annual Peterborough Agricultural Innovation Award

Congratulations, Hello Farm (Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Farm)

On Thursday, February 15th, Mayor Jim Martin was on hand to bring greetings from the Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen and personally congratulate Ava Richardson and Kiyotami (Zenryu) Owatari of Hello Farm on receiving their Peterborough Agricultural Innovation Award, pictured above.

February 15th, 2024

Agricultural Innovation Award presentation

The second annual Peterborough Agricultural Innovation Award was presented Thursday February 15th, 2024 to Ava Richardson and Kiyotami (Zenryu) Owatari of Hello Farm. The farm was presented with $500 and a presentation plaque. The Award was created by the Peterborough Agricultural Roundtable, and is co-sponsored by Sunderland Co-op.

While Ava previously farmed in our region, she moved to Japan where she met Zenryu and farmed there for eight years. Now, as a new Canadian, Zenryu is bringing techniques used in Japan to their new market garden location north of Havelock.

In order to prepare the land and improve soil fertility, moisture retention and tilth, they have been applying biochar and bran to their soils. Zenryu brought a biochar chimney from Japan, where he used rice husk to create biochar. In Canada, he has successfully substituted spelt husks. In addition to biochar, he adds raw bacteria-rich wheat bran to the soil in place of rice bran. Ava and Zenryu have observed an increase in their overall crop yields due to the resulting increase in soil fertility and beneficial bacteria present.

The full text of the application submitted by the farm for this Award can be found on the Peterborough Agricultural Roundtable website at

“Congratulations to Ava and Zenryu for your visionary approach to improving soil fertility on your farm and for winning the prestigious Innovation Award! Your dedication to pushing the boundaries of agricultural excellence is deserving of recognition and celebration. Thank you for choosing to contribute and lead in the agricultural community of Peterborough County.” – Peterborough County Warden Bonnie Clark.

The Peterborough Agricultural Roundtable is supported by a wide range of local agricultural organizations and envisions all farmers working together to create a vibrant future for farming in Peterborough County, City and in Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation. Membership is open to any farmer or owner of farmland. The Roundtable runs the annual Peterborough Farm Showcase Tour for local decision-makers and publishes the Peterborough Ag News e-newsletter covering items of importance to the local farm community.
To find out more about the Peterborough Agricultural Roundtable and agriculture in Peterborough, visit

Please direct media inquiries to: Pat Learmonth 705-957-1590

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