Breathing Life Into Everything We Do
We like to think of our farm as a Whole Farm Organism; with every action taken, there is an awareness of how that activity will affect the rest of the farm. Careful planning is important as we look ahead to the current growing season, reflect on the drought of last year (and prepare in case it happens again), and think about how we want our farm to evolve 5 - 10 - 20 years down the road. 70 years ago there were 30 acres of meadows surrounding the home farm. Red and white pine trees were planted in the 50's as a conservation planting, and slowly...carefully...we are turning those acres back into pasture, and planting a small orchard - for the next generation. One of the advantages of having a diversified farm, is that each animal group (pigs, chickens, cows, horses, oxen) plays an important role in reclaiming pasture and making our existing pastures more productive.
Our milk cows and heifers are moved onto fresh grass every 12 hours and the horses and oxen are moved every 1-2 days. Small paddocks & short periods of occupation in each section help us improve the land in the form of feed quality, feed volume, water holding capacity, soil biology, and carbon sequestration (increased organic matter). Frequent moves mean that nutrients are being spread equally over the pasture. Adequate rest in between grazings allow our pasture plants to recover fully before the next 'harvest'.
We manage our meat birds on pasture in a rotational grazing system, providing them with lush green grass, organic grain, kelp, insects, clean water, fresh air, and sunlight. The Freedom Ranger meat bird is a slower growing broiler that loves to graze, is strong and robust, and is highly suitable for our organic, pastured environment. When we move our birds, they leave behind manure rich in Nitrogen and do a great job consuming insects and spreading out the manure pies that the other animals left behind - thus reducing the potential for parasite issues with our ruminant livestock.
Our pigs 'rotovate' pieces on our property that are being returned to pasture. They stir things up, eat plant roots, bugs, forages, and leave an abundance of nutrients behind. We follow them by seeding some quick growing annuals (oats, buckwheat, peas, annual rye) to capture nutrients, and cover and protect the soil. Want to learn more about Management Intensive Grazing or the other classes that we offer? Interested in a Farm Tour to see how our farm 'lives and breaths'? Check out the opportunities on our website and let's get together!