Well, look at that! We’re wrapping up the first quarter of 2020 and haven’t made a post yet. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening…
We’ve been building rain gardens, breaking stuff, fixing it, trimming trees, prepping beds, moving wood chips, cleaning up, and just generally preparing for spring. I think my favorite thing about it is just spending time getting to know the space better and better.
The raingarden and general earthworks seem to be doing their jobs so now it’s a matter of tweaking them. Slowing, sinking, and spreading the water. Sitting with it to see how it evolves, what wants to happen.
Grass in the hoops started growing the minute we had 10+ hours in the day, way back in the beginning of February. The food forest is just barely starting to wake up.
There’s an old grandmother red oak tree in the wood lot along Hitchingham. She might be 150 years old. There seems to be some evidence of dumping in the back acres, too. Only the oak knows when.
We’ve started a Patreon page! Running a nonprofit with nearly zero budget is a tough thing, so we’re asking for your support.
From our page:
Why should you support this project? We believe that our current food system and relationship to the land is in real danger. There is a lot of regenerative work to do, and a lot of barriers to those who desire to do that work. This project combines the generosity of a non-profit organization* with the creativity and energy of the local community to build the systems that will help us to heal that fractured relationship with our food systems and land. Some of our members are working to make a living growing and selling food, some are focused on education and community building, some are working towards conservation and utilization of the wild areas, others are working at animal husbandry, keeping bees, as well as tending to an 8-acre food forest**… and all of us are interested in supporting the mission of Dawn Farm in helping addicts and alcoholics find recovery.
Most of us have second (and third!) jobs to help us subsidize this mission-based work. We are all drawn to this out of a passion for learning and interacting with the land and each other, as well as a desire to help create and share a better more resilient model for this work. We have already brainstormed ways to reduce the barriers to success in our design- shared free land, shared farm tools and resources, access to community and each other, etc. The addition of your patronage will help us to buy things like liability insurance, help us repair our hoop houses, and add to our infrastructure (we have plans to build a communal space for gathering, processing our harvests, a composting toilet, etc.), build a farm stand, among other creative ideas. Your support means so much!
We are also committed to sharing what we learn through regular blogging and social media posts. We want this information to be available for all who could use it. Tutorials, philosophical musings, practical tips and learned strategies… we want it all out there to be of service. Supporting this project financially will help us to generate more and more of this content!
*Did you know Dawn Farm charges us nothing to share this acreage with us? Land is free for all Cooperative members. Building this project through an ethic of generosity is integral to our mission.
**Food Forest! This is space planted with 1500 useful trees and shrubs. This design enjoys the ecological resiliency of a forest with the added benefit of human purpose and utility.
A swale is a water harvesting ditch on contour. The swales in this field passively collect rain water and keep it in the field, slowly moving it through the soil, instead of letting it run off into the neighbors field.
This field is planted with nearly 2000 useful plants and shrubs using a technique called STUN – strategic total & utter neglect. Those that survive will be maintenance and worry free members of this thriving ecosystem.
Jerusalem artichokes are rich in inulin, a sugar that is not digestible by your body. However, it is very digestible by the bacteria in your gut and gas that they produce can be painful. This makes preparing them in the right way important. They can be pickled essentially pre digesting them. Alternatively they can be slow cooked, the roots will darken and soften as the sugars caramelize.
Cook in crock pot on low when you can watch it warm when you’re sleeping. Keep enough water in the bottom to keep moist.