OUR FARMING PRACTICES
We strive to raise our animals and produce using the most natural and sustainable farming practices possible. For the animals, "natural" means raising them in an environment they are accustomed to from hundreds or thousands of years of evolution, eating what nature intended them to eat, and allowing them to express their animal instincts. For garden produce, we try to use heirloom varieties of plants that are acclimated to our climate and soils, so they can thrive without artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
We compost all of the wood shavings/bedding from the brooder coop and winter chicken housing, as well as the cattle lounging area in the barn and spread it on the gardens and pastures in the spring and fall. This natural fertilizer and organic compounds enhance the soil and prepare it for the spring planting season. We also compost all the chicken offal and feathers from our on-farm processing and utilize this extremely rich organic material to help us grow more luscious fruits and vegetables.
We are constantly learning from others about new ways to raise our animals in a natural environment, improve the fertility of our pastures and gardens, and become better stewards of the land. Here are some of the authors, books, and periodicals we have turned to for new ideas, guidance, and inspiration:
Joel Salatin, President of PolyFace Farms
Joel is pioneer in the field of grass-farming and sustainable agriculture, and without his unconventional thinking and prolific writings, we probably would not be farming today. Buy his books from the Polyface website using the link above.
Jo Robinson, an investigative journalist and New York Times best-selling writer, is the author of the book, Pasture Perfect, and the principal researcher and writer for the eatwild.com web site. Jo has spent the last nine years researching the many benefits of raising animals on pasture.
Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemna, a NY Times Bestselling book which explores the state of America's industrialized food system and the ecological and health challenges we all face if we don't make changes to the way we eat.
In All Flesh Is Grass: The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming, Gene Logsdon explains that well-managed pastures are nutritious and palatable—virtual salads for livestock. Leafy pastures also hold the soil, increase biodiversity, and create lovely landscapes. Grass farming may be the solution for a stressed agricultural system based on an industrial model and propped up by federal subsidies.
Weston A. Price Foundation
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price's research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats. Learn more about their important work on their website.