Plum Hollow Farms: A Sustainable Vision for Regeneration, Biodiversity, and Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Bank & Vogue is proud to sponsor Plum Hollow Farms, a project aligned with our values, addressing local food insecurity sustainably by providing affordable, healthy, and locally-grown produce.

Meet the Co-Founders

“The farm is a celebration of food and growing food in contribution to our local community but is also about growing a permaculture forest that will contribute to biodiversity. I’m fixated on the idea that one of the biggest challenges facing humanity is preserving biodiversity.” – Steven Bethell

Steven Bethell

Founder- Bank & Vogue Ltd/Ltée., BVH Services & Beyond Retro

As co-founder of the Bank and Vogue family of companies, Steven has been a thought leader and pioneer in the post-consumer textile space for over 20 years. He has dedicated his work life to innovative and relevant solutions to the crisis of stuff. In his spare time, Steven lives off the grid in the Canadian wilderness. He is an avid woodsman: fishing, paddling and learning about the outdoors and its many wonders.

Helene Carter-Bethell

President at Bank & Vogue Ltd.

Meet Helen Carter-Bethell, the co-founder of the Bank & Vogue Group. In the early ’90s, alongside Steven Bethell, she laid the foundation for the business in their basement. Today, Helen’s leadership and sharp business expertise propel the company to global acclaim. Her proficiency in wholesale, retail, design, and manufacturing, combined with a passion for sustainability, drives innovative solutions in the used goods market

Cultivating Change for a More Sustainable Tomorrow

In October 2022, my wife Helene Carter-Bethell and I took the initiative to purchase 178 acres with a vision to regenerate and diversify the land through regenerative and permaculture farming, establishing what is now known as Plum Hollow Farms.

This farm, once monoculture farmland, presents its own set of challenges, primarily stemming from poor soil conditions and depleted biodiversity.

“I want to live in a world where I am going to plant a tree knowing full well I’ll never sit under the shade of it. That’s the ethos of what we’re trying to do.” – Steven Bethell

Where It All Began

Plum Hollow Farms, situated on the Indigenous territory of the Iroquois, was founded by Elder Abel Stevens in the 1790s.

Steven saw the beautiful landscape during plum tree blossoms and decided to claim it as his own. He built a dam, connected two lakes, and set up a wooden mill.

Nearby, you can find the old stone residence from the 1790s, used during the founding of Plum Hollow Farms and now part of Upper Beverley Lake.

Our project holds significance beyond safeguarding historical landmarks; it also entails the preservation of the natural beauty inherent in the land.

7-Year Plan for Plum Hollow Farms

We aim to cultivate a diverse crop culture to attract more wildlife and biodiversity, creating a protective environment for the farm and the surrounding community.

Serving as a biodiversity hub, we are dedicated to tackling biodiversity loss. Our approach involves empowering communities, championing science-driven solutions, and inspiring transformative action.

We commit to avoiding chemical sprays, fertilizers, and products, and adopting minimal tilling techniques to preserve soil quality, essential for sustainable farming.

“I have an intimate relationship with the farm, it’s almost like talking about a lover. The funny thing is that if you work the land, like any relationship, you fall more in love.”  – Steven Bethell

Revitalizing Orchard Growth

When we first found the farm we noticed that the health of the trees was poor, with 80% of Gala trees and 40% of Honey Crisp trees in need of care.

  • To revive the apple orchard, we’re starting with hand-weeding and mulching, tending to 70 rows of trees in different conditions. Tasks include fertilizing, watering, and removing dead trees.
  • Our focus is on improving tree health for 2025 rather than maximizing yield.
  • We’ve added 30 Crab apple trees for wind protection and extra fruit. These trees are fertilized, enhanced with mycorrhizal fungi, and safeguarded from predators.
  • In the Orchard Field, we’ve planted 100 Canadian Plum trees for excellent pollination.
  • We plan to diversify crops by adding more plum cultivars and other fruit trees.

Transforming the Nursery

We are committed to revitalizing the nursery, restoring it to its full bloom and unlocking its maximum potential.

The nursery land has been neglected for three years, lacking water, fertilization, spraying, mulching, and mowing. This has led to weed growth, diseases, and various pests, negatively impacting the trees’ health.

  • During the Summer of 2024, we plan to trim weeds around the existing apple trees.
  • In the Fall of 2024, the goal is to relocate as many disease-free trees as possible to the Apple Orchard.
  • We are focusing on caring for and watering the nursery to save as many trees as we can.
  • For larger trees challenging to move, some may remain, but we’ll decrease their numbers if they’re too close.
  • Over time, portions of the nursery will evolve into an apple orchard with guilds and companion plants, fostering maximum productivity in the healthy field.

Enhancing Soil Health and Quality

Previously, 80 acres of crop fields were planted with soybeans in a monoculture, leading to soil damage from lack of rotation and excessive tilling. The soil is now eroded, acidic, and sandy, posing a challenge for future crops.

  • To address this, we’ve introduced diverse crops like vegetables and fruit trees, enhancing soil health.
  • Potatoes have been planted in depleted soil north of the Orchard, with mulching and protection from weeds.
  • Six Crab apple trees, along with shrubs and trees, act as a windbreak for crop protection.
  • Regular field cutting in summer prevents weed seed formation.
  • By August 2024, we plan to plant winter rye or clover to add nitrogen and prevent soil erosion during the dormant season.

The Future of Plum Hollow Farms

At Plum Hollow Farms, we’re fully committed to tackling the climate crisis. Our big aim? To create a lively, diverse farm that welcomes wildlife and biodiversity.

We see Plum Hollow Farms as a hub where nature and profitability work hand in hand.

Our passion doesn’t stop in the fields; it extends to the forest and watershed. By closely watching and engaging with the land, we want to boost wildlife and biodiversity, creating a balanced ecosystem that lasts.

“Helene and I are hoping to create a permaculture forest with paths that you’ll be able to walk through and just interact with nature. Almost like a garden of Eden with food growing from trees at various times of the year.”  – Steven Bethell


Looking forward, our dream for Plum Hollow Farms is to fight food insecurity in nearby areas. We’ll do this by providing locally grown, healthy, and affordable food, putting an end to hunger in our neighbouring townships. To make this happen, we’re excited to connect with the local community—joining farmer’s markets, teaming up with businesses, and building relationships that go beyond just business. Plum Hollow Farms isn’t just an idea; it’s a passionate promise to a world where the land thrives, diversity flourishes, and the community is well-fed in every way.