This post is to share what is going on out here at Prairie Song Farm, where I live and work (when not in class at MUM). These first few steps (mission, theme, scenerio, vision) are the necessary first steps in any good permaculture design. Analysis & Assessment of the land, with base maps, overlays with energy flows and other considerations will be done on physical paper to aid as a visual. There is still a lot to learn about the site, especially with regard to existing influential plant species. I wish I had some pictures of the gardens or chickens or something, so instead you’ll just have to come see in person! But for now, a conceptual look a what’s goin’ on at the Farm:
Mission Statement: My mission is to participate in the vision of Prairie Song Farm by identifying and clarifying the goals of the Farm. Further, I will apply the principles of permaculture, sustainable agriculture and agroforestry to envision potential design features that will be most appropriate for the fulfillment of Prairie Song’s vision, which is always evolving and changing.
Theme: Unconventional rural permaculture farmstead with work-trade renters.
Scenario: The landowner (Jeffrey) owns 140 acres of rural land 5 miles north of the City of Fairfield. The land is comprised of a mix of cultivated hayfields, restored prairie, and woodland, with a creek, wetland, and pond. Jeffrey hopes to transform the land into a living example of sustainability in terms of energy, food security, shelter, and community; to this end he offers a work-trade deal to students of sustainable living to occupy several living spaces on the property in exchange for work on the farm. There is a house, apartment, and several small cabins to house residents. A 1000 sq.ft. garden and 200 sq.ft. greenhouse to grow food, and chickens to lay eggs are already a part of farm life. Potential expansion of food growing capacity is a high priority, including agroforestry and edible landscaping throughout the property. New elements are being considered all the time, and residents are challenged to design systems that harness the symbiotic potential of all elements of the Farm. There is a growing interest among people in the community to live at Pairie Song and as the community of work-traders grows additional attention must be given to how everyone works and lives together.
Food Production – self sufficiency with mixed production from annual and perennial gardens, perennial edible landscaping and wild harvesting, and agroforestry, including integrated chicken/livestock.
Ecosystem Restoration – restoring native prairie on selected parts of land through seasonal seeding and appropriate burning to stimulate growth and succession
Harmonious integration of people and land – people at the farm actively develop a lifestyle of sustainable living, and work toward renewable energy, natural building, independence from rural water, and food security.
Community work – social fulfillment, recreation, and working together toward a shared vision.
Education – Creating functional and beautiful examples for others to see how ecology, biology, and humanity can live in harmony; the successful use of sustainable living methods can help teach and inspire others to apply it to their lives. Residents gain knowledge of ecology, agriculture, natural building, and community building through life at the farm, and by initiating and participating in various projects.
Agro-Forestry Species List: For function analysis
Grow-Biointensive (double-dug, raised beds, companion planting, plant spacing, rotational planting)
Biodynamic (compost preparations, planting schedule, acknowledgement of subtle forces and Devas affecting the environment)
10 Free-range chicken (how to keep from damaging gardens!?, recycling manure to compost)
2 Grazing Sheep (rotational grazing, building paddocks, integrating chicken services to spread sheep manure)