Fall Equinox Invites Reflection

As the fall equinox approaches, the farm is taking the opportunity to reflect on the growing season and think ahead to the winter time and beyond. As humans on the farm, we are always exploring what the farm needs to bring balance and a sense of harmony and well being. If you've been a CSA member in the past or have read the newsletters, you may have been introduced to the way that the farm views over-all farm health. To start, there is the biological health of the farm organism. We can observe this by studying the soil, the health of the crops, and the quality of the pastures. Next comes social or community health. We can access this by considering the health and quality of the human relationships on the farm. We can also look at how the farm interacts with the broader community and contributes to the local political system. Finally, we must consider the financial health of the farm. Can the farm pay it's bills? Does the farm have the financial resources to support appropriate investment in things like infrastructure or tools that the farm needs to facilitate efficient production?

Currently, the farm is exploring the role of livestock on the farm through this three fold lens of farm health. Each animal fills a unique role on the farm and contributes to the farm's biological equilibrium in their own way. Pigs forage in the margin lands, where the farm is otherwise less productive, poultry spread manure on the pasture lands and work in synergy with cattle to renew hay ground, and goats help cycle nutrients by providing ingredients for the farm's compost piles. At the same time, each species contributes to the social and financial capital of the farm in different ways. The decision making process to determine how many animals and what species mix is appropriate for the farm is a conversation that is ongoing and multi-faceted. As one component of the farm shifts and changes, it impacts other components. As the farm matures, animals take on different roles. We are learning that there is no final "answer" and instead, the farm is an evolving organism that invites exploration, growth and opportunity to learn.