Adapting to my Environment a.k.a the Woodlot:
Wooded spaces provide more value to the landscape than being future vegetable beds. A woodlot can capture up to four times as much sunlight as an open field, captures more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, has some of the most fertile soil and provides habitat to many forms of life. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would see hawks living in the city. The species diversity helps eliminate pest problems and provides life to the landscape. There is also something aesthetically pleasing about seeing gigantic oaks towering in my backyard. I am continually humbled by the fact they have occupied this space long before I was even a thought.
Aside from all the environmental and aesthetic reasons, a woodlot offers the opportunity to learn about and grow a different variety of species. I am able to grow different trees such as sassafras, paw paws, sweet birch, walnut and oaks, which produce food for humans (and wildlife). I can grow mushrooms (using wood harvested on-site) and fern fiddleheads, among a host of other crops. Working with a wood lot forces me to be creative and expand my idea of what is possible.
No-Till Ecological Farming
I believe and try to recognize that we humans inhabit spaces along with many other creatures and critters and as humans, we can also have a positive impact on our environment. Farms in this manner can end up being amazing spaces that provide food and habitat for many living beings.
In this same manner, I must do what I can to support and feed soil life as this is the very basis from which the food grows. To me, this means as little soil disturbance as possible and the addition of composts and other organic materials that feed the soil life. Extensive tillage can destroy soil food networks and structure, create more severe weed pressure and lead to erosion and soil compaction, all of which creates a difficult environment for plants to grow.
Rotational Grazing/ Pasturing:
Although I no longer have animals, this was how I kept animals (chickens and goats) when I did have them: I'd move the animals every few days to different spots around the farm to provide them with fresh forage and to reduce stress on the land. It also has the added benefit of making the animals healthier, as they have a varied diet and are not constantly exposed to their own waste. A rotational grazing system is cheaper for the farmer (less vet bills, no constant dose of antibiotics, less expensive building construction, excrement clean up, etc) and produces a better product, whether that be eggs, milk or meat. It may be more time intensive to set up their space every few days but they do not require intensive daily care.
The goats and chickens were a most excellent grounds crew! The goats especially did an excellent job clearing the invasive species out of the woodlot, allowing me to plant trees to help restore the health of the forest! As the backyard in shade, the chickens and the goats were able to generate products (eggs, milk) on land unsuitable to vegetable production. As an added bonus, they provide fertilizer!
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or to schedule a visit to see if what I say is practiced. Thank you!