First — pictures of the farm. Below are ones by my friend Jimmy Wells. Jimmy counts birds for the Audubon society so there are a bunch of pictures of the wetland and more on his flickr site.
And here goes…
The farm is 250 certified organic acres. It is bottomland and there is a beaver created wetland of 18 plus acres. a creek runs through the back of the property. The garden area is 6 plus acres, but there is more space to utilize. Currently I grow on only 1/2 to one acre at any given time. 70 acres is hay land and is enrolled in the new EQIP program for certified organic acres.
There are lots of bottomland hardwood forested acres as well. I have 5 fig trees and am planting clover this fall in preparation of putting in a 1/2 acre mixed fruit orchard.
I have taught myself to farm over the last six years, but I have great gaps in planning and organization that are holding the farm back. There is an incredible opportunity here. We sold at a growing market in Madison County this year. I originally started farming with a CSA. I could easily have gathered enough people for a 100 member CSA within a year or two if I had the man or woman power, but, as I was farming solo, I found that the deliveries cut too deeply into the field time. I scaled back to learn to farm. Now I am beginning to ramp up production in all areas. Greenhouse, field, and ancillary projects.
Here are future ancillary dream projects for the farm.
1. Elevated observation/sleeping tower and 20 foot walkway into the a wetland for local groups to stay and observe and study. This would also be a farmstay rental in the agriturismo tradition when not used for outreach projects.
2. Alabama, while improving its organic farming profile, is still woefully underrepresented in organic farming. We would like to develop a program through the highs schools and nearby two year colleges to provide hands-on experience in organic production as part of their agriculture programs.
3. We’ve got plenty of crayfish at the wetland and I would love to have a crayfish catch and boil and on the knoll overlooking the wetland. Just a little dream I have for giving us some publicity, and raising the farm’s profile and have fun while doing it. I’m a vegetarian but no one else much around here is. I’m happy to accommodate them once a year and I’ve always wanted to do a party at the farm anyway.
We are at the beginning of this plan for our future. I know my farm quite well, but I want to learn to become a much better farmer and manager. For the intern/s there would be the opportunity, not just for practice of skills, but the ability to teach those skills and, hopefully help design the future farm.
Contact Diane at Tune Farm <firstname.lastname@example.org>