starting a farm

November 5, 2008

Several of us are starting a small market garden in Timberville for the 2009 growing season. This opprotunity will give us a chance to try and implement some of the things we have been learning about and to establish ourselves as farmers!  So far, we have tilled in an almost 2,000 sq. ft section of lawn and sowed a cover crop of oilseed radish and winter rye.  We are currently going through the processes to aquire a spot at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market and then configuring a budget, supplies list, and seed selection.  Its exciting! Let us know if you have interest, information or comments!

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So, for those of you who were not at the sustainability rally on court square last week I wanted to share some numbers that I have figured out concerning the food production of hburg/rock co.:

John Jeavons, who spoke and did a workshop at EMU the other week, said that, at the minimum, it takes 3,000sq ft. to feed a person using biointensive methods.  Well, I got to thinking,” How does this relate to us on a large scale in Hburg and Rock Co.?” So, me and Sarah did some math and have concluded that if we were to feed all of Hburg and Rock. Co. using Rock Co.’s land, we would need 1.4% of the land found in the county! This leaves just a little room for error, growth, etc. This does not include green space inside the city limits of Harrisonburg. I envision blocks collaborating to grow their own food using all of the backyard space.

At first upon discovering this, I was just amazed. Now, as I continue to think about it, I am wondering how farmer’s would react to this, how citizens would react to this, and how the government would react to this (local and federal)? So, I am wondering if anyone has thoughts on how to take this information and spread it out to folks. There is one problem that I see:If we were to provide all the food for ourselves, through small farms, edible forest gardens and free ranging integrated animal systems, who would be making any $$$.  Know that I don’t believe in our current money system, but it doesn’t look like the Federal Reserve is closing any time soon and money is still what it comes down to for most people.

So, how do we spread this information and dealing with the fact that farmers in the valley who own the land, need to make money? Discuss!