Happy Spring and Happy Easter to all of our supporters! It is a time of new beginnings, with new life springing up all around us, and it certainly feels that way at the Ten Acre Organics Micro-farm. In the past eight weeks we have been undergoing major construction, transforming our backyard into a densely-productive farming operation. Crops are sprouting in our field, chickens are inhabiting our new coop and run, and new soil is being born out of our composting system.
Beyond that, new relationships have sprouted and grown as we have met dozens of volunteers who have come out for our "How to Build an Urban Farm" workshop series. Each Sunday for the past 7 weeks we have hosted a different workshop with a different guest subject-matter expert, with attendance for each workshop ranging between 10 and 25 people. It has been inspiring to have partnered with so many experts and leaders in sustainable agriculture around Austin, to have received so much generous support from so many local businesses, and to have seen such a rich, passionate community begin to grow around this project.
In the first workshop, Zach and Virginia from YardFarm gave a great presentation on chicken coop design and chicken care, and we built a 70 square foot coop with a 200 square foot run.
In the second weekend, Michael Hanan from Ten Acre Organics presented on greenhouse design, and we constructed the frame of our 600 square foot greenhouse which will house our new aquaponics system.
In weeks three and four, Michael and Lloyd gave an overview of aquaponics and small-scale aquaponics system design, and Rob Nash from Austin Aquaponics helped lead the construction of our new aquaponics system.
In week five, Jimm Stack from 100th Monkey Mushrooms gave a phenomenal presentation about fungi, the role of mushrooms in an agroecosystem, and the nutritional and medicinal benefits of several mushroom varieties. We inoculated straw-filled baskets as well as logs with elm oyster mushroom spawn, and every workshop attendee got to take home their own inoculated log.
In week 6, Ben Ramirez from Green Brothers gave a presentation on low-cost, water-conservative methods of irrigation, and then led the construction of a greywater system (from our laundry room to our newly-planted plum tree and garden bed), and then we built a drip irrigation system for our 400 square foot crop field.
In week 7, Sam Liebl from East Side Compost Pedallers taught us about composting, and together we built three hot-composting bays, two worm bin stacks, and a compost tea brewer.
Our final workshop of the series will be this upcoming Sunday (April 7th), where Mark and Raul from Austin Honey Company will be teaching us about honey bee care and beehive design.
This workshop series has been an incredibly valuable learning experience for us at Ten Acre Organics and for the dozens of people who have attended, and we are deeply grateful for the support that has made it all possible.
From Organic Valley (a values-driven, sustainability-focused, organic dairy cooperative), we received a generous grant that covered many of the program-related costs of the workshop series. Furthermore, we were able to provide lunch for all attendees at each of our workshops thanks in large part to in-kind donations from East Side Pies, Taco Deli, ThunderHeart Bison, Dish a Licious, and Hopdoddy Bar & Grill.
The "How to Build an Urban Farm" workshop series is almost over, but there is still a lot of construction yet to be done to complete the TAO Micro-farm. The pace will continue at full-steam into the weeks ahead. Stay tuned in to our blog at www.tenacreorganics.com and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tenacreorganics) to get all of the latest updates, photos, and videos of our progress.
Deepest thanks, and best wishes,
The Team at Ten Acre Organics