We've made our goal with few days to spare!
Now very $5 pledge gets us one more hazelnut tree on this year's tree order.
Breezy Meadows was founded with one simple idea. Create a modern hillside farming ecosystem that combines natural processes to holistically produce a bounty of food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, "farmaceuticals," and fun for us and wildlife.
With this idea in mind we have been working for three and a half years building and experimenting with different growing systems and plants. We grow annual veggies in permanent raised beds called Hugelbeets, that are sometimes covered with one of our two mobile high tunnels. We came to Kickstarter backers in the fall of 2011 to fund our acre of terraced rice paddies. This helped to make us the largest hillside rice grower in New England.
We started planting trees the first spring we moved to the farm. We are modeling our tree plantings in the style of a savanna(see below). Rows of hazelnuts, chestnuts, elderberry, raspberries, apples, peaches and pears are spaced wide enough to allow animals to be rotated through. The animals eat the drops from the nut and the fruit trees and fertilize the trees, shrubs and pasture.
Two Wheel Walk-behind Tractor
In Europe walk behind tractors can be found on many small farms. They are more than just tillers. They have almost as many attachments as the full size tractors that we use here in America.
Here at Breezy Meadows we need to add a two wheel tractor to help us keep up with our growing needs.
Our rice paddies need a big increase in organic matter and major nutrients. To help increase these we are going to integrate cover crop and compost. With the rotary plow we will be able to loosen the soil and mix the compost deep into the soil. With the crimper attachment we will be able to try a no till system in a few paddies and compare the effects.
When we started planting our trees three years ago we were attempting to turn the forest gardening design into a model that would work for a farm scale production. What we didn't realize at the time was that changes we were making to the design were shaping a system that more resembled a savanna.
With an over-story of trees surrounded by smaller shrubs and herbaceous plants spaced out with grass all around the clusters, savannas are the best ecosystem on earth at supporting large mammal populations. Since we are mammals and most of our domesticated animals are mammals it just makes sense to try to design a system with that in mind.
It also means that we are looking to shift from an annual based agricultural model to a perennial model. The hazelnuts and chestnuts we have begun planting will replace corn and soy in our diet. The lower shrubs will provide needed vitamins and nutrients for us omnivours. As the mix of dynamic accumulators shed their leaves and are eaten by our animals nutrients will be spread around the pasture fertilizing the field and the trees.
As well as accumulating nutrients for the trees that will be spread as the plants lose their leaves in the fall or as animals convert them to fertilizer after they eat them.
We are also creating a multidimensional structure. Not only are we mixing a large variety of crops in a single acre but we are varying the height of plants. The larger trees will tower over the under story of shrubs that will grow above the grass. With multiple layers of plant growth we can maximize the amount of sunlight being collected during the year. This will help us reduce the need for using stored fossilized energy which should be one of our main goals moving forward.
Permaculture Design Course
In addition to our weekend classes we will be offering a PDC for the first time this summer. Our PDC will be a little different than many courses you can find around the country. We want to focus on hands on skills that are reinforced by lectures not the other way around. During our course you will stay at our off the grid working farm, interacting with our farm animals and our farming practices everyday, and thinking about real world permaculture application with limited capital in mind.
A diverse group of leaders will guide students through a wide range of topics on earthworks, tree and shrub establishment and care, mushroom inoculation, chainsaw care and use, farm scale production models, water management, mobile structure construction and more.
Students will stay on the farm where there is access to beautiful walks, scenic views, a swimming pond, solar/compost heated outdoor showers, camping sites and a small rustic cabin.
Meals will be provided by the craft kitchen collective.
Our secret cabin in the woods
Music by Phase IV "low-fi is sci-fi"
Risks and challenges
We have researched the walk-behind tractor and attachments and know that it is a key piece of equipment for the farm. Compared with the risk of deciding to grow a new grain crop in a cold environment, any risks associated with purchasing equipment are very minimal.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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