Unexpected FARM Changes...
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Well, here we are in 2017! While last year was filled with progress in the growth and development of our educational programs, it was the most difficult year yet for growing food. As the world continues to change, we are called to search deeper for inspired solutions to the many challenges we face as a global community, and locally here at the farm.
Our water situation has been getting more tenuous over the last few years and we’ve tried a number of short-term solutions. Without enough water and a proper irrigation system, last season’s drought highlighted our lack of ability to provide sufficient water to produce enough crops to support a full-time farmer. It was extremely stressful not only on the crops but personally, when so much time, energy, funds and passion were committed with minimal return.
We have researched drilling another well and installing an irrigation system, which we know would be a large investment/capital campaign. Then in meeting with the Ontario County Soil & Water Conservation District and Moravec well drillers (who drill most of the wells in our neighborhood) we were shocked to learn that they are not confident that if we did drill another well that we would necessarily find enough water to meet the needs of the farm. Our watershed is changing, friends.
The water situation and financial loss has precipitated the very difficult decision to suspend our CSA and our much-loved farmer, Tanya Rogers, will be moving on to pursue other paths. Tanya has literally given her all – and she and her family have invested much - to try and make this succeed. During the four years that Tanya managed the farm, many significant improvements were made including a new wash station, walk-in cooler and heated greenhouse. Everywhere we look at the farm we see her efforts and care and handiwork…and the vision of her and her sweet farm dog, Dreamer. We will sorely miss Tanya’s presence and we’re sure she could use your support and warm wishes as she discerns what adventure is next in her life.
The opportunity in this situation for us is to develop a sustainable water supply for the future of the farm. We recently received a 3-year grant from the Guido and Ellen Palma Foundation to assess, design and create a sustainable water system. This is an educational project to engage local youth from start to finish in developing a holistic solution to a real-world need. It’s hopeful but it’s not fast. 2017 will be spent in on-going assessment of the current water on the property and how it changes through the seasons (springs, ponds, seasonal creeks, water catchment from the barn and house roofs, etc). We will be working with a regional permaculture specialist to look at many options. Design and implementation will continue through 2018 and 2019. Throughout this process we will learn and determine the most appropriate and sustainable farming practices for this particular property.
In the meantime, we plan to still have fruits and herbs and honey in production at the farm, and more educational programs. We would also like to assess the interest in having a small cooperative garden to tide us over until the next steps become clear. In the past there were a few years where several households worked together to grow a small cooperative garden but it definitely takes time and commitment from everyone involved. Please let us know if you are interested in exploring this option.
For those of you who will be looking for another CSA to join, you can find a complete list at https://www.nofany.org/directory/ .
As an educational non-profit organization, we will continue learning and sharing our successes and challenges in creating a more conscious and regenerative world together.
We are keenly aware and infinitely grateful that you all work in your own unique and powerful ways toward similar goals.
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