The other night we had quite the windstorm and the green tarp that served as the covering for our conestoga wagon style chicken coop was blown to bits. We replaced it with a blue tarp. But it was, in a sense, a green tarp. That is, it was re-used, reclaimed from some friends of ours who needed it when they were replacing their roof and needed it no longer.
We do things the green way and the tarp is only one example. From the earliest life of our plants to the most long-lasting storage crops, we do things with green on our minds. Let me walk you through:
We grow all of our seedlings in a potting mix that is produced on the farm in a process that allows no waste. The process is circular.
Each February we haul a load of horse bedding (manure, urine and straw) to the farm from a local horse farm that would otherwise have to pay to truck it away. We use wheelbarrows to bring the bedding into the greenhouse, where it fills a long compartment along one side. The heat it generates helps to keep the greenhouse above freezing in the cold early spring months without the use of any fossil fuels. After a full year of composting, we screen this compost by hand. With the addition of a few mineral amendments, this becomes our potting soil.
Our brand “new” cold frames (pictured above) were made from 99.9% reclaimed materials – we had to buy the screws. The glass and plywood came from Jay’s barn full of salvaged goodies. The glass was from a greenhouse that he dis-assembled about 15 years ago, knowing that the pieces would come in handy one day. (Jay has taught us a lot about keeping it green on the farm. All of the electricity on the farm is Solar, the farm vehicles run on veggie oil, and most of the systems we use were developed by him.)
We never plough or roto-till our planting beds. Instead we weed by hand, and mulch with compost or straw. This keeps the soil cool and moist when its hot and dry, keeps all of the soil micro-organisms happy and in balance and, best of all, keeps the weeds down. It also keeps carbon trapped in the soil where it belongs, instead of releasing it rapidly into the atmosphere each time the soil is turned over.
Muscle power does the work for the CSA, we barely use a tractor. Less tractor use means less dependence on fossil fuels. We even try to ride our bikes to work on the farm as much as possible!
The food we grow for storage is kept in a subterranean root-cellar over the winter where it is kept fresh naturally, no refrigeration required.
Most importantly, we are a CSA, which means the food we grow locally is eaten locally.