Rice in New England!?
We have successfully grown our first year of rice here in Vermont inspired by a few pioneers in the state. We now need your help to expand to an acre of rice paddies which will be able to supply between 3000 and 5000 pounds of rice. We need to build a warming pond, paddies, and infiltration swales. The pond will also be home to a flock of ducks, fish, and edible aquatic plants that we will be selling in the future. The infiltration swales will help direct water down into the ground and control runoff from our property along with the paddies.
The terraced paddies will not be just a mono-culture of rice. We are developing a polyculture of plant species that will grow along side the rice that will be mutually beneficial. We currently have a 3 plant setup that we will be experimenting with and expanding over the next few years. Azolla a water fern acts as a floating ground cover suppressing weeds and providing nitrogen. It can be harvested to be used as a high protein food for our animals and as a nitrogen booster in the garden. Watercress also grows well on the edges of the paddies and fills the mid-height vertical space in the paddies. With more paddies to experiment with next year we will be able to add to the list of combinations that work with rice.
We will also be having a rice growing workshop in the spring to spread the word on rice growing in New England. It will be for home gardeners who want to grow a small amount and for those looking to scale up to production scale. Attendance to the workshop will be given to those folks who pledge 150 dollars or more.
The money that you pledge will help us hire a local excavation company, purchase water pipes, seed for erosion control after construction, and survey equipment to mark out contours for the swales and paddies. The funding we are asking for is the minimum we have calculated we could do this project for. Any extra would be greatly appreciated and help us build drying and storage space, bags, and further our development of a small scale human powered and affordable rice huller.
You can read more about us at our website and blog at http://breezymeadowsorchards.com
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