Farming in nature’s image
Raising food in a sustainable manner, working with nature instead of against it, is our primary aim. Over at Fox Holler we practice time-tested, sustainable farming techniques and experiment with designs that harmonize growing food and a need for ecological diversity. We are committed to leaving this over-farmed, clay-stricken Missouri slope better than we found it.
Techniques we’re employing to move beyond organic growing.
Our animals aren’t just allowed access to pasture. They’re specifically directed with the intention of improving grazing and fertility distribution to improve pastures. Healthier, more productive pastures, when grazed at appropriate times can photosynthesis more, sequestering more carbon than grasses that are overgrazed or neglected. Pasturing of multiple species allows for a more complete use of space, more diverse plant species, and lowering or eliminating parasites and disease which otherwise would require medications harmful to soil life.
Reducing our Carbon Hoofprint
There’s no question animal agriculture has a climate change problem, so one of our focuses is on providing carbon smart supplemental feeds for our livestock. We utilize “waste” stream bakery products in addition to culled produce and whey from the homestead dairy in order to save more than 12 tons of trash from the landfill every year. Methane from landfills is a leading cause of climate change. We figure there’s no need to till land to grow grain for animals when so much food is already “wasted.”
By planting and managing trees in our pastures we can recreate the highly productive prairie savanna ecosystem of the pre-settler heartland. In combination with a grazing program that simulates the movements of wildlife, we can sequester carbon and use land to provide quality fruit, nut, and timber crops in the same space as animals. We hope to promote building farms that simulate functioning ecosystems, complete with pollinators and other wildlife, and still maximize the amount of food produced per acre, over generations.
Preserving our Homesteading Heritage
Saving and improving heirloom seeds and trees as well as heritage breed livestock builds resilience in our food growing systems. By improving and maintaining traditional breeds of plants and animals we can leave an important touchstone for future generations of farmers. We also practice and maintain timeless homestead skills that reduce our need for fossil fuels, like natural building, scything, curing, and fermenting.
Here are some other ways we hope to promote a radically sustainable life as a small family farm.
Off the Grid
We utilize solar power, rainwater, and firewood in our day to day lives. We only burn wood in efficiently built stoves, from sustainable sources, and are producing more and more fuel from short-rotation coppice, a way of harvesting from living, growing trees.
We aim to handle farm related compost as well as that generated at home in a way that is efficient, maintains fertility, and creates neither pollution nor waste. We strive to salvage and reuse many materials, as well as radically reduce our own consumption by living simply.