Faithfully yours - Relationships are the key


Neil Strohschein
The Neepawa Banner

What started out as a demonstration project has sent an example for others in the area to follow and we can visit the site whenever we wish. Its official name is the Rosedale Farm Conservation Project. It began as a joint venture between the RM of Rosedale and the Manitoba government. Since 1977, the farm has been managed by the Whitemud Watershed Conservation District.

The farm’s history dates back to the mid-1800’s. Settlers established their farms and towns along the east escarpment of Riding Mountain. Communities like Eden, Polonia and others soon sprang up, attracting additional settlers who were also looking for land. By the 1890’s, most of the easily farmed land in the lower plains had been claimed. But since the land to the west had an abundant supply of wood for construction and warmth and lots of fresh water, newcomers chose to make their homes on the lower slopes of Riding Mountain. They cleared the land and planted crops. Tracts of land were planted one year, summer fallowed the next. While this practice effectively controlled the weeds, it left the land exposed to the threat of being eroded—and eroded it was. There was nothing to impede the run off during Spring thaw or to retain water deposited by heavy rains. The water flowed down the hills at a torrential pace, carrying tons of topsoil with it and eventually making the land unsuitable for farming.
But that was just the beginning of the problems faced by these farmers and their neighbors. Repeated heavy rains caused flash flooding, clogging ditches and drains with shale and silt, washing out roads and destroying crops at the base of  Riding Mountain. Facing challenges they could not handle alone, Rosedale councilors called on the Manitoba government for assistance. 
Beginning in the late 1960’s, the Manitoba government began to purchase parcels of land that had been rendered unsuitable for farming. As each parcel was purchased, a conservation plan was put in place. Trees, hay and forage crops were planted. These fields were leased to area farmers and provided them with a source of high quality feed for their cattle. Land that was once unsuitable for anything became productive again, much to everyone’s delight.
Two quarter sections, located 8 km west of Eden on PR 265 were chosen as a demonstration site. This is the Rosedale Farm and it is open to the public. It features a self-guided tour with displays that highlight the work done to reclaim this land and make it the productive site it is. It is certainly worth a visit as it will give you a new appreciation for the challenges we face when seeking to use our resources responsibly. In the opening verses of the Bible, the ancient writer reveals that nothing in heaven or on earth can exist in isolation. Everything is about relationships—between day and night, earth and water, plants and animals, humans and nature, humans and God. Failure to understand these relationships and live within the restrictions imposed by them will produce disasters like the one faced by homes and farms near Riding Mountain in the early 1960’s.
The Rosedale Farm is an example of what happens when humans live and work in harmony with nature and, as a result, live and work in cooperation with the God who created it. I would urge you to visit the farm, take one of the walking tours and see this miracle for yourself. 
Additional information on the Rosedale Farm and other conservation projects in this area can be found at