Welcome to "Whirlaway University"!
A century ago in the United States, almost everyone knew how to grow, build, and make things. Produce was local, and there was an astonishing variety of it available. Gardeners and farmers alike saved seed and shared it with friends and neighbors. Food tasted different, because it was different. Things have changed. The art of growing, building, and making things by hand is being lost.
My interest in these lost arts led me to a degree in landscape architecture, but after working in the field for several years, my heart led me to agriculture. I believe in making a difference in this world, and it seems obvious that our connection to the food we eat and the earth we live in is critical and is being largely overlooked by modern culture. I considered a graduate degree in International Agricultural Development, but the thought of being a policy wonk didn’t make my soul sing. I long to learn, live and teach by doing. I want to get my hands dirty. And I believe the most profound and lasting change starts with community. So I scrapped academia to become a farmer, and haven't looked back.
As such, Whirlaway Farm is my dream and self-designed "graduate program"- where I aspire to create sustainable land management systems, incredible organic food, and a wellspring of knowledge to share with my community and beyond. I live in a yurt, embodying the very definition of "living on the land". I work around the clock with the generous assistance of friends to make Whirlaway Farm a living, breathing entity.
THE WHIRLAWAY DREAM:
- To be a sustainable, self-reliant homestead farm that raises fruit, vegetables, eggs, rabbit, fish, honey, and dairy using Biointensive, humane, and organic methods ,aquaponics, employing permaculture principles, and maximizing yields while minimizing impacts on the land.
- To cultivate and produce heritage breed animals and heirloom vegetables and fruits in order to preserve & share the rich flavor and wild variety of forgotten food sources of yesteryear.
- To actively engage with our community by hosting weekly work days where we open our farm to share labor, meals, knowledge, and belly laughs with our friends, families, and ever-expanding circles of seasoned farm friends and enthusiastic newbies.
- To be stewards of our land and to promote stewardship through monthly workshops that educate and encourage our community to engage in the homesteading arts, including (but not limited to) growing and preserving food, raising and processing animals, and creating handmade items of beauty or use.
- To constantly learn and experiment with various techniques and practices of plant cultivation, soil building, food preservation, animal husbandry, and creative re-use and recycling of materials so that we can create a model of "best practices" for this hot, drought-prone climate to share widely with others attempting to farm in similarly hostile environments on limited budgets.
WHAT WE NEED TO MAKE THIS FANTASY REALITY!
- Build poultry houses: a chicken house capable of housing a free-range flock 100 strong, a quail house with a pasture run, and a small barn & fly area for 2 dozen pigeons.
- Construct a pond for a flock of ducks
- Build a free-range, secure environment for rabbits
- Build a commercial kitchen for packing/processing produce
- Purchase a cooler for vegetables, eggs, meat & dairy
- Build a greenhouse for starting seeds & housing our aquaponic system
- Purchase a portable refrigeration unit to transport food to market
- Install irrigation in our 5,000 square foot veggie plot and run water lines to livestock areas and greenhouse
- Begin the organic certification process & obtain all necessary permits for selling animal products to the public
- Obtain heritage breeds of chickens, ducks, and rabbits
- Purchase several more Langstroth beehives and bee colonies for the spring
While there are many more expenses and projects we would like to generate funds for, these are the most important at this time. Of course we have stretch goals, but we welcome donations in any amount and will be thrilled to reach our goal.
Risks and challenges
Starting a farm is shockingly expensive and difficult. The past year has been a whirlwind of activity and accompanying expenditures at Whirlaway, and there remains so much to do that it can be dizzying at times. There is always great risk in farming, because we are at the mercy of nature. Fortunately, we have a solid plan, boundless energy, and sufficient diversity on the farm to buffer against shocks.
We have chefs, butchers, and non-corporate groceries prepared to purchase the fruits of our labors, and now we need to scale our operation accordingly.
Your support is what will make the difference between this endeavor thriving and progressing at a healthy pace, or moving along glacially due to an ongoing thirst for working capital...
We are offering wonderful rewards at every level of support because we want to recognize how important YOU are to US. Everyone who donates will be thanked on our website and will receive all sorts of goodies crafted by our hands and hearts right here on the farm.
Because of the wild uncertainty involved in growing plants and raising animals, some of the rewards may be delayed by a few weeks from the projected dates, but we understand this from the get-go. We ask that you be patient and enjoy our updates along the way.
This project is SO exciting to us, and we are so grateful for the continued support our communities have offered. This campaign will allow us to reach an even broader network to share with.
The current hope is to host a huge Easter farm-warming party on 4/20/14 complete with easter egg hunt, piñatas, a petting zoo, and plenty of adult fun, too. All of our backers will be invited.
I wake up every day grateful to be here, doing my dream, and I am honored to have you along for the ride! Thank you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)