Exploring the contours and dynamics of the farm this winter, I’ve begun to glimpse how it may one day work as an integrated whole: wooded hillsides, stream and wetlands, open spaces and pastures. Though it’s only a small farm there are infinite possibilities for interconnected and complementary animals and plants. When asked, “How big is your farm?” I used to answer in the expected form: “55 acres, about 27 tillable” as if only half the farm is useful or productive. How crazy is that! Inspired, in part, by Mark Shepard’s new book Restoration Agriculture, I now imagine someday seeing all 55 acres integrated into a productive, interconnected and largely self-sustaining enterprise.
It’s a huge project and the clearer the vision becomes, the more I realize that what I hope to see is more than I’ll be able to realize on my own. The experienced farmers I know have such an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge – what a greenhorn I am! There is so much to learn needing lots of patient observation, trial, error and time. And there is so much to do: planning, planting, pruning, harvesting, developing markets, managing the finances and all the myriad things that will develop this beautiful place into a beautiful and productive place.
To realize my vision, then, I need one or more partners in the project – folks who would like to help develop a Restoration Agriculture enterprise. In a sense this brings me full circle as one of my original rationales for buying this farm was to provide ‘access to land for sustainable farming.’
The details are still unknown but the broad strokes are clear: here is land to be husbanded for the long haul and the path will likely lead through permaculture. I want to provide access to this land for someone to develop a sustainable, small-scale agricultural enterprise which, over time, would both provide a living and profits, the latter leading to investment in land – perhaps this very farm. For the right partner(s), this could be a thrilling opportunity to create and realize a sustainable farming vision.
There must be someone . . .