Our philosophy on farming has been influenced by many individuals who have been doing this far longer than we have. We have had the pleasure of being on Joel Salatin’s farm and seeing his operations in person. We have done extensive reading and research into the systems established by Mark Sheppard. We have seen the power of integrated systems as developed by Permaculture specialist, Geoff Lawton. And all of them have one key component in common. Pay attention to what nature is telling you.
What can we learn from her?
Nature loves diversity. It is very rare that you would walk into a forest or a prairie and see only one type of plant. There is a mix of hardwoods and softwoods. There are edible plants and those that provide shade. There are plants that rocket to the sky and some that cover the ground. Animals fill every layer, and each one fills a special niche. There is diversity.
Exposed soil should be limited as much as possible. Rarely will you see exposed soil in a healthy ecosystem. Something needs to grow in that space. We fight that in our gardens all the time. If there is exposed soil, a weed will grow there. That is why we did a very limited plowing to get our pastures planted and never intend to again. It is how nature prevented erosion and built up strong soil life.
Rarely are animals stationary. Most animals move in a cycle with the seasons and with predator and food pressures. Animals that stay in one spot for too long are at risk for disease from their own waste. It is not natural for an animal to behave this way. Keep them moving and keep them healthy.
In addition to nature’s lessons, we are really striving to choose heritage breeds when we can, and when we can make it work. Many of the great breeds of all farm species that were around even 50 years ago are being pushed out by hybrids that just make meat or eggs bigger and faster. In our push for the aforementioned diversity, we hope to carry on a tradition of heritage breeds and celebrate how unique and beautiful that can be.
We have not and will not file with the USDA for organic labeling for philosophical reasons. Instead, we will provide complete transparency into our farming methods. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but will always try our best for you, for our family, for our animals, and for the land. We are definitely open to thoughtful suggestions.