Liberation Farm is both a commercial farm and our homestead. We practice permaculture design to connect all the diverse pieces of the farm to each other in a way that reduces our work by letting nature take it’s course.
We like to think of permaculture in many parts of our farm and lives, including: shelter, energy, food, water, waste, and community. According to permaculture design everything on the farm should serve multiple functions and every function should be supported by many things.
Our house is a good example of passive solar design. It is built into the side of the hill and insulated from temperature changes. The solar side of the house is primarily large windows that warm the house up on sunny winter days. In the summer the house is shaded by two large maple trees that we also tap for maple syrup in the spring. The water collected from our roof is collected in rainwater tanks used for irrigation and directed into swales on the dry southwest facing adjacent slope where we have planted a food forest. We heat our home in the winter with a small woodstove, and our electricity is provided by a 3kw photovoltaic array.
Our house is surrounded by small water features and a kitchen/herb garden of raised beds. Just beyond this we have a small food forest featuring apples, mulberries, peaches, elderberries, raspberries, grapes, hazelnuts, roses, nettle, oregano, mint, horseradish, and sunchokes (I’m probably forgetting a few). The food forest corridor extends down our driveway with small islands of annual vegetable gardens intermixed. These production areas grow almost all the fruits, vegetables, and herbs for our diet and for sale at the farmers market. We store many crops in our root cellar and do many types of preservation for winter use.
Around the perimeter of the farm are the pastures. We rotate our goats, pigs, and poultry around the farm using portable fencing. The animals are frequently moved onto fresh pasture, giving them new forage and allowing the previous areas to regenerate. We have planted windbreaks and edible hedgerows around the fences to add to the diversity and function of the pasture.
We overwinter animals many animals on our farm. They bring nutrients onto the farm in the form of their feed, either organic grains for pigs and chickens, or hay for the goats. Every spring we compost and recycle the nutrients in their manure to build the soil in our gardens, food forests, and pastures. We have seen major changes in the soil and productivity in our gardens in only a few years. It may sound strange but spreading manure can be very exciting!
We share the bounty of our farm with the community through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares of eggs and meat. We hope to add fruits and nuts to the CSA offering soon. We enjoy getting to know people at the farmers market that support the way we farm. Farm tours and on-farm sales are another way we like to engage the community in where their food comes from!