Farming Status and Plans
Description of farming status, plans, and practices:
I am seeking to run a small-scale farm offering a variety of nutrient rich, chemical-free and same-day fresh vegetables to select areas in Westchester and New York City. The farm would be a "no-dig" / "no-till” market garden in the vein of the many new small farms that are known as regenerative in their approach. Over the past five years, there has been an exciting resurgence in small-scale farming, with innovations in farming methods and tools. Regenerative agriculture is leading the way in running profitable small-scale farming operations that grow healthy chemical-free food while restoring soil biology and health.
A regenerative no-dig/no-till approach naturally builds soil biology and nutrients, minimizes weeds, without chemical inputs and without heavy machinery. By analyzing and amending the soil, using a thick layer of compost as ground cover, along with dense plant spacings, weeds can be all but eliminated without artificial chemicals. Soil health improves over time, and soil biology works symbiotically with the plants get the nutrients they need. The goal is to provide fresh vegetables to customers that are rich in nutrients and flavor, and that they love and will come back for again and again.
Consistent with lean farming principles, a no-dig/no-till market garden maximizes efficiency. The dense plantings, and minimal soil disturbance, reduces effort. New tools like the Paper Pot Transplanter https://paperpot.co/, and the Quick Cut Greens Harvester https://farmersfriendllc.com/products/harvest reduce time and effort of significant tasks. No large equipment or tractors are required. As a result, managing the growing process of a one acre farm can be accomplished by one or two people, and can generate an attractive income. To visualize a typical layout of this type of farm, this website has a nice aerial photo https://ohave.dk/
A typical breakdown of time spent growing is:
Seed flats 5%
Bed preparation 14% (a one-time effort over two weeks)
Direct seeding 2%
The farm operation will require one acre of land including planting beds (.4 of an acre), nursery, wash/packing area, cold storage room and tool shed. A delivery van will need to be parked and will need access to wash pack area for packing. Water access is require for irrigation and electricity to charge and run power tools and to cool a storage room.
Caterpillar tunnels https://farmersfriendllc.com/products/season-extension and low row covers will be utilized to extend the growing season. A sample selection of vegetables we will grow includes tomato, cucumber, lettuce, mesclun mix, kale, spinach, turnip, leek, onion, bean, chard, squash, kohlrabi, broccoli, asian greens and carrot. Ideally we would like to accomplish as much as possible this current season and take advantage of at least part of this growing season. In the future micro-greens, fruit, flowers, and mushrooms are possible additional products.
The time is right. Healthy, local food with no chemicals and high in nutrients is better for you and more reliable than imports. Farming done right can regenerate the land and soil, and help lead to larger scale climate change solutions.
Description of marketing method:
The focus will be on providing local same day freshness, nutrient-rich, great tasting, chemical-free vegetables.
Sales will be primarliy through a Facebook group with weekly ordering and drop off points, conducted in a COVID friendly way during this crisis. The farm will advertise on facebook and use its friends and family network to create awareness and generate sales. There will be a farm website as well, which could include online ordering using a service like grazecart https://grazecart.com/
A name and brand identity for the farm will be developed. Talks, tours and open days will be conducted when possible. Local areas served will include select parts of Westchester and NYC.
- Hudson Valley
Infrastructure required:Water access, Electrical Access
Description of water access required:
Water for irrigating the veggie beds will be needed.
Crops and Livestock
Primary crops:Vegetables, Fruits, Ornamentals
Description of tenure options desired:
Leased land or parnership. Would consider purchasing land as well.
Will this farmer's operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?Yes
Experience & education:Farmer training or workshop
Online training in market gardening with Richard Perkins, innovative farmer, internationally regarded teacher and influencer, and Regenerative Agriculture expert. His website is here http://www.ridgedalepermaculture.com/about-us.html
Online training on soil biology and restoration with Dr. Elaine Ingham, widely recognized as the world’s foremost soil biologist, her Soil Food Web Approach has been used to successfully restore the ecological functions of soils on six continents. Her website is here https://www.soilfoodweb.com/about/
Volunteer at Listening Tree Cooperative in Chepachet Rhode Island. Work included helping design and plant a food forest on their 20 acre propertry, their website is https://berryberrydayhomestead.wordpress.com/about/
I have been a member for eight years of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, a community garden located on Roosevelt Island in New York City, the website is here http://www.rigarden.org/
Training and lectures in Permaculture principles with Andrew Faust through the Center for Bioregional Living. His website is https://www.permaculturenewyork.com/about-us
Self-taught in a Permaculture Design Certificate course, developed by Bill Mollison to teach the principles and foundations of ecological design.
I have successfuly run my own communications design agency for twenty plus years, helping companies execute communications programs as well as creating many innovative web-based solutions to communications challenges, my company website is here https://percepted.com/