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The six of us moved to the farm in May 2011, ready to roll up our sleeves and create a little farmstead together. With a machete and a hammer, our vision started coming to life. We cleared some trees and removed some fencing to get a start on a nice little one-acre pond and dock. It’s stocked with blue gills, catfish, large mouth bass and plenty of frogs. It’s a great place to relax in the summer!
The next order of business was growing some food. We teamed up with Backyard Abundance to create a long-term plan for an edible landscape. So far we have planted several apple, pear and peach trees, started a berry bramble and added plants to feed the wildlife and restore the land. There is a mandala garden in place to provide food, beauty and a place to meander.
We strive to be a sustainable farm and to make choices that are best for the welfare of our livestock and the planet. Through a program with Johnson County we were able to add an array of solar panels to produce some of the power for our farm. Another way to help combat climate change is a concept of silvopasture, where trees, livestock and forages are integrated as a whole system. The combination of trees and pasture work symbiotically to provide food and shelter for livestock as well as regenerate the land. This blog post written by the Practical Farmers of Iowa offers more detail.
Another component of my short-term vision is to provide opportunities for agritourism. We are thrilled to be able to enter into 2020 with overnight lodging for guests! We want our farm to be a place where people come to learn about where their food comes from, explore the land, and experience rural living.