If you are going to raise pigs on pasture, and move them frequently, you have to solve the shelter problem.
Our first time mother, The Empress, gave birth like a boss. Thus far, she is an incredible mother. Enjoy her babies, as they mess about in their nest.
This year has been a turning point in our farming story in many ways. One new road we're walking down is that of breeding. For many reasons it was never in our minds to do so (neither was raising livestock), but we have at this point become thoroughly committed to raising heritage breeds that are all critically endangered or threatened.
We were at our local farmers market a few months ago and Allison noticed a new winery. She saw their name, "Forest Edge Vineyard," walked up to them and asked if they were permaculture people, since, who else talks about Forest Edges? Turns out that this couple has been practicing Permaculture since before it was cool.
We have a running joke with our Friend A. where every time we are doing something he finds to be crazy, but secretly thinks is amazing (my interpretation), he says, "That's so Permaculture" in a slightly accusatory tone. We laugh at how crazy some things we do sound and move on. This is near the top of our list of crazy (awesome) so far.
Three years ago we moved to our smallholding. It was a neglected tree stand with a ton of unfortunate and poorly planned ornamental plantings crying out to us for a rebirth. Sunlight could barely penetrate anything and the brambles and garbage had swallowed a good percentage of the un-treed land.
We felt that in honor of the clearing, cleaning, sweating, bleeding, injuring, dreaming, believing, designing, building, planting, birthing, raising, butchering, feeding, teaching, nurturing and healing that has taken place in three short years we would share some photos to narrate the journey as best as our cameras can.
Allison reminds us that a core aspect of people care is realizing the reality of our limitations. How we design food systems for ourselves and for others has to take into account the many ways in which we are limited.
In recent years I've become the sort of person that is more likely to ask why something is so cheap rather than why it is so expensive. I realize that asking this question is something I can do in part because of privilege. I am in a position to be able to afford to look at the labels when I shop, eat the occasional meal out, and on that basis somebody might consider me elitist or a snob to suggest that food, on the whole, is priced artificially low.
That's why I felt it was time to lay out, as briefly as possible, a philosophy on the cost of food.
From the beginning of our own education in farming, we have loved to impart what we're learning to others and to grow alongside the many curious and intrepid people that are working to produce food, eat more healthfully, restore landscapes, serve those in need and build community.
Our permaculture foundations class is designed to give students confidence to look at their back yard, farm or apartment balcony and have some idea of where to start or where to go from here. For those whose thumbs are already decidedly green, this class will be an introduction into the particular principles and approaches that distinguish Permaculture within the landscape of sustainable and organic approaches to food production.