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Farming

Ricky showing off one of his dibble tools

Ricky Baruc is the head farmer at Seeds of Solidarity Farm in Orange, MA where he lives with his wife Deb Habib and son Levi. Jack and I have known Ricky, and Deb before him, since the 80s. We are lucky to live only about ½ hour away from them. Here is a nice overview of the farm taken from their website:

Seeds of Solidarity Farm was initiated in 1996, on land in the middle of the forest that had not been cultivated for many years, and the original inhabitants of the region being the Wampanoag, Nipmuc, and Pequoit people. A conservation restriction on our 30 acres ensures the land will always be used for agriculture, education, and wildlife habitat. With nature as teacher, the land has been transformed into fertile fields and hosts five solar hoophouses brimming with our signature greens, fruit and perennial crops, garlic and sacred, traditional crops such as Hopi blue and Narraganset flour corn. The tapestry of our site includes energy efficient and off the grid home, office, and farm outbuildings, including Solidarity Handworks, a solar powered farmstand, and celebration art and words of inspiration along the paths.

Photo by beauconsidine, available under a Creative Commons license.

While we sit and wait for our legislators to move forward with the agricultural omnibus bill, the GMO labeling bill, and much else, let’s take a moment to zoom out, scan the horizons, and find inspiration in some unexpected places.

Massachusetts tends to pride itself on being first in the nation on a number of landmark pieces of legislation. First on health care reform, first on gay marriage, etc. But there is much we can learn from the efforts of other states too.

This workshop reviews methods for manufacturing the following on the farm: indigenous micro-organisms for biologically inoculating agricultural fields; different types of compost for use in no-till as well as for use during specific periods of crop growth, i.e., leaf growth, flowering, and fruiting; liquid fish extract; liquid calcium extracts; and various plant extracts. These preparations are inexpensive to make and of superior quality. There are 2 parts to this workshop.

Do you consider nature one of your best teachers? Are self-reliance and closed-looped systems part of your farm or garden design? Do you like to get your hands dirty and make your own compost and worm castings, or natural insect repellents from soap, hot pepper and garlic? If yes is your answer, then you may be interested in Korean Natural Farming!

This winter I am infatuated by a new book, “The Wild Wisdom of Weeds” by Katrina Blair. I will give a full review of it in the upcoming edition of The Natural Farmer, but wanted to share some thoughts about chickweed here.

Starting on March 22nd at Brix Bounty Farm in Dartmouth, MA, Derek Christianson will host a season long, three workshop series focused on growing vegetables for health, quality and profit.

Explore large scale organic weed management principles and practices that can be used for growing organic vegetable crops in the New England climate. See extensive images of Red Fire Farm fields to illustrate management strategies and equipment that can help effectively manage weeds.

Aaron Englander has developed a large body of knowledge regarding Korean Natural Farming. KNF looks very holistically at the entire farm system, including the people in it, and uses inputs that are generally close at hand and relatively inexpensive.

Cover crops have long been used to “catch” nutrients and carry them forward to the next growing season.

This workshop will lay out the primary challenges of four season greenhouse systems as well as outline strategies for developing a practical model to suite the diversified farm. We will discuss innovations, crop selections, and techniques to improve the ecological and economic viability of this system throughout the seasons.

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