... and so Oasis Community Farm is flush with vegetables but this begs the question; what is our production capacity year round? My estimate is 40 families getting weekly boxes of vegetables 40 weeks of the year. Just having ended our farmers market and learning a great many lessons, we currently could serve 25 but are starting our “Garden Share” with 12 households by putting some beds into cover crops and slowing production. Our primary focus is on building healthy soil. We can do this with cabbage, carrots and compost or with plow-down cover crops of beans peas buckwheat and oats. Our quarter acre of permanent no-till vegetable beds will remain healthy and vibrant no matter what vegetables are harvested for members. New vegetable crops can be planted and harvested in as little as 25 days, but some 60-90, so strong commitment by families over seasons will help us plan and eliminate waste.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Modern food production is extractive and unsustainable even as a CSA or organic production model. What then is our philosophy and practice? We practice constant rotation instead of applications to control pests and we harvest selectively to fill boxes but waste nothing as we feed animals, compost piles and the stockpot with surplus. We have a long-range plan for the farm based in permaculture principles. We wish to establish tall hedgerows around the property to provide habitat for beneficial insects and birds and protect against the wind.
We will plant evergreen trees and shrubs on the grounds and construct permeable watercourses, ponds and wetlands; a sort of oasis on the edge of the city. This permaculture plan is counterintuitive to the market CSA model which succeeds when it produces more, yet we plan over time to produce less vegetables, more shade; less peppers, tomatoes and fruit, more serenity . Over time our family carrying capacity will actually decrease and yet the qualitative experience of the farm will increase as elements such as tree canopies, under story ground covers and watercourses naturalize.