A working permaculture farm growing food for sale locally; training people to grow food and establishing an edible plant nursery.
The design of the whole farm (including the refurbishment of the Barn where we live) has been guided by permaculture principles and methods. Having bought the farm in 2003 we spent over a year ‘observing and interacting’ with the land and existing buildings to design our living space and immediate surroundings. The property exhibits passive solar design and good insulation. Heating/hotwater is from a bio mass boiler using scrap wood and some wood grown on site. Hot water in summer is provided by solar thermal panels. We ‘catch and store’ water around the site and drinking water comes from a local spring stored above the farm in a tank. Our energy strategy aims to reflect the ‘catch and store’ and ‘use renewable resources’ principles. We have a large vegetable garden, a small forest garden in production and 12 hens, the combination of which is increasingly providing for our vegetable and fruit needs – ‘obtaining a yield’. We have undertaken a number of formal permaculture designs – a broad concept plan for the whole site which we developed with designer Mark Fisher and two projects for Permaculture Design Courses that focussed on the vegetable / forest garden and the development of Edibles as a cooperative enterprise. In this way we have tried to work from overall patterns to the detail. We’ve reused many resources on site – timber and stone in particular and are aiming for much more of a closed loop in terms of inputs/outputs to/from the farm. We are creating large quantities of compost from on site resources, growing some of our bio mass and augmenting the chicken’s diet with home grown food. We’re experimenting with polycultures and had good results last summer. During 2011 we will start supplying our local community owned green grocer and are currently agreeing a planting plan with them. Recently we have been successful in being chosen by Making Local Food Work as one of 6 pilots nationally to develop replicable examples of a local food system. To do this we are working in partnership with The Green Valley Grocer, The Handmade Bakery and our Transition Town, MASTT. We will develop a local food brand called Coln-U-copia. The three founders have all completed the full Permaculture Design Course and will register for the diploma.