Thursday, July 9, 2015

Unity Farm Journal - First Week of July 2015

It’s a week for strategic planning.   Just as I wrote a basic draft framework for  FY16 BIDMC information systems, I’ve written a draft plan for the next year at Unity Farm.

Here’s our best thinking as of July 2015:

Unity Farm was founded on a few basic principles

1.  A complete environment that challenges us mentally and physically
2.  A nurturing place for animals and plants
3.  A place that enables us to pursue a life focused on sustainability
4.  A place to reduce and optimize belongings
5.  A place for generations to gather

It is meant to be a labor of love, not a profit center or large supplier of any one commodity.   It will be diverse, experimental, and manageable without requiring a permanent staff.

The Living Things

Alpaca/Llama - we have the barn facilities for housing no more than 14 camelids i.e. 5 male alpaca, 8 female alpaca, and 1 llama.   Our breeding program will be limited to keeping the herd vital.  We will not breed camelids for sale.

Dogs - the Great Pyrenees dogs are our companions and have successfully kept predator losses to a minimum.    Recognizing that their lifespan may not exceed 10 years, we’ll have to plan for replacement/possible overlap of young/old but will only keep two dogs at steady state.   We will not breed dogs for sale.

Cats - the cats keep our indoor rodent population under control and provide a vibrant presence inside the house.

Ducks - we have the facilities for housing no more than 12 water birds.   They provide eggs, fertilizer, and insect/slug control.   We will not breed ducks for sale.

Geese - we have the facilities for housing no more than 12 water birds.   They eat weeds and guard the barnyard against predators.    We will not breed geese for sale.


Chickens - we have the facilities for housing no more than 100 land birds.   They provide eggs, fertilizer, and insect control.   We will not breed chickens for sale

Guinea Fowl -  we have the facilities for housing no more than 100 land birds.  They provide tick control and guard the barnyard against predators.    We will only sell guinea fowl when the population exceeds 60 birds.

Pheasants - we have a property size that can accommodate 6 pheasants.   They will be released at maturity and propagate in the forest as nature allows.

Bees - we have the nectar sources that can accommodate 12 hives.   We will maintain 22 hives by keeping bees at multiple local properties.

Pigs -  We have space for 2 pigs.  Pigs can efficiently process our fruit waste/pomace, vegetable waste, and edibles that would otherwise be composted.   We will not breed pigs for sale.   They would be companion animals.

Others - we will not add sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, or cows to Unity Farm.

The Products

Vegetables - We’ll grow four seasons of vegetables in the hoop house for Unity farm friends/family and creatures.  We will not sell fresh vegetables.

Orchard - We’ll grow apples, stone fruits and berries for Unity farm friends/family.  We will sell not run a U-pick.

Mushrooms - We’ll grow Shitake, Agaricus, Winecap, Nameko, Oyster, Lion’s Mane, and Ganoderma for Unity farm friends/family.  We will sell Shitake.

Cider and beer - We’ll make hard cider and beer for Unity farm friends/family.  We will sell cider.

Honey - We’ll make honey and wax products for Unity farm friends/family.  We will sell honey and wax.

Mead - We’ll make mead for Unity farm friends/family.  We will sell mead.

Eggs - We’ll have eggs for Unity farm friends/family and sell eggs.

Fiber - We’ll harvest fiber yearly and sell yarn.

Permaculture - We’ll experiment with paw-paw, ginseng, and other produce to determine what works in our environment.

Goals for next year

1.  Coursework in the UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate Program
2.  Raise 21 young chickens, 3 geese and 6 pheasants
3.  Try permaculture experiments  (paw paw, ginseng, rice, sun choke)
4.  Refine cider, mead and beer recipes
5.  Raise our young alpaca
6.  Build up our 22 hives for winter
7.  Evaluate the best use of our remaining barnyard space - build a pig enclosure or an equipment barn
8.  Grow vegetables, fruits, and mushrooms
9.  Process our alpaca fiber
10.  Maintain woodland and trails


1 comment:

Nancy Faria said...

Hi John - A MEDITECH Co-Worker mentioned your blog as my family has a hobby farm as well. We do have sheep, goats and a llama on our farm. I noticed that you are planning to grow paw paw. My Dad and I grew some on his property. We started with 2 trees and after about 6 years they yield delicious fruit. Worth the wait!