Farm Philosophy

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Foundation Farm was named to reflect its mission to become a blue-print for a  sustainable, small-scale, organic farm. 

 

Our deepest hope is to educate and inspire others through the farm school, and other outreach programs.  We enjoy being a part of a local small-farm network offering fresh food, inspiration and education to its surrounding communities, including families, chefs, institutions (schools, hospitals, social clubs..), community leaders, and all others committed to a higher quality of life.

 

 

Sustainable

 

Foundation Farm is to generate enough income to satisfy its owners and workforce and to fund its continuation.  Profits and related wages will need to validate farming as a long term career option. 

 

FF makes the best use of its available resources.  The Ozarks bless us with a privileged small farm environment including climate, water and soil.  Our farming method is organic (no synthetic chemicals), no-till (soil structure kept in its natural state) on permanent beds (cultivated surface area is fixed).  It also involves multi-cropping (variety of crops grown at any time), organic mulching (beds are often covered in straw or other organic materials), and “bed-straddling“ (tractor work is done with tires riding solely on paths).  Future projects involve experimenting with on-site compost-tea and/or EM (effective microorganisms) brewing and spraying.

 

Water usage is minimized thru many of our cultivation practices (mulching, no-till, dense plantings, drip irrigation).  Our water-system keystone is a well which is used very conservatively even in time of drought, thanks to a superior soil which retains moisture at twice the rate of traditionally tilled farms.

 

Energy consumption is drastically limited thru the use of a machine-free farming system.   The size and the organization of the farm allows many tasks to be done manually such as mulching, seeding and transplanting.

 

Fertility inputs (coming from outside the farm) are minimized by using permanent beds where fertility can be concentrated and by growing year-round cover crops on a 5 year rotation.  FertiliIty inputs include manure, cover-crops, mulch, and feather meal. It is intended and foreseen that, by increasing soil life activity progressively,  additional nutrients will be made available to plants, reducing the need for fertility inputs. Over the last 10 years of no-till farming we have seen the organic matter content double in our soil from 3% to 6% while growing large quantities of vegetables.

 

Top-soil erosion is avoided thru the careful management of permanent, “no-till” beds and the use of mulch and cover crops.

 

Overall, by minimizing its impact  and understanding and supporting  its surrounding ecology,  FF can benefit its own ecosystem while sustaining a viable productive operation.

 

 

Small scale

 

Our design is to model a 3 to 10 acre farm  which fits our ecology and economy best.  Based on our experience it is the size at which mechanization can be limited or avoided, and land can be best taken care by a well-trained farming workforce.  It is also a good natural size for our type of landscape and local market situation.

 

 

Organic

 

FF will supply a variety of fresh organic (chemical-free) produce which our climate allows.  Over time, other crops can be added such as perennial berries, fruit trees and flowers.  Diversification is a well-tested strategy to improve farm ecology, increase marketing appeal and protect against crop failures.

 

FF is organically “certified” under the tutelage of the US Dept. of Agriculture.

 

 

Community-based

 

FF is located within 50 miles of its intended markets/communities (Eureka Springs, Fayetteville).  The farm intends to “feed its own” with a product guaranteed to offer maximum freshness and nutritional quality. 

 

As urban communities tend to lose their identity and focus, the farm is positioned to rally people around its vision of fresh local food and balanced farming environment.  In time, FF will develop a community outreach program.  We also plan on having a yearly harvest celebration with music at the farm.

 

 

Education-based

 

FF wants to become a source of small-scale farming knowledge.  Apprentices will be brought into the fold of the farm for a hands-on apprenticeship program leading them to start their own farm.  For a full season, apprentices will be immerged in all aspects of farming including cultivation methods, marketing and overall management.

 

FF will call upon local experts to add their own perspectives and seek relationships with other educational entities such as the Horticultural Dept. of University of Arkansas.

 

last modified on: Sunday February 01, 2015 10:15 AM -0600