It has been a pretty good year. We have had more visitors than last year and a more diverse amount of people as well. We had 525% increase in school visits and a 243% increase in tours altogether. Wow, sounds impressive doesn't it? Not bad for the second year. We will just leave it at that for now.
Ira B. Jones School ,and the Evergreen Charter School brought out large groups of kids and our Hops Harvest Tour and Family Farm Tour all brought lots of folks out to see our farm as well. Everyone had a great time and we hope this trend will continue.
The farm is slowly getting bedded down for the winter. I still have quite a bit of weeding and mulching to do as well as some more plowing for some expansion of hops and blueberries. Never ending. More importantly though, I have been trying to expand new ideas into our farm.
I am excited to be a part of some new developments here at the farm as I have just finished meeting with Eric Mader, the Assistant Pollinator Program Director, and Nancy Adamson, the Pollinator Conservation Specialist for the East region. Both work for the Xerces Society For Invertebrate Conservation headquartered in Portland Oregon. Hank Henry, of the East Technology Support Center for the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), was also there.
I proposed making my farm a model for native pollination and they are going to be very supportive in this adventure by providing me with information about funding and technical advice through both the Xerces Society and the NRCS. I will be implementing a flowering hedgerow and creating a 1/2 acre native flower bed to add to the other wildflower and milkweed plantings on the farm.
The finished additions should provide an important model for the education of farmers throughout the country on the importance of the pollination of native insects and provide for the opportunity learn how to protect these species by increasing their habitat. It is all part of creating a more sustainable and productive farm.
Let's not forget that this is also grant writing time at the farm. All good small farmers are good grant writers! I am working on an energy grant and an infrastructure grant that should make the farm a true destination model sustainable farm!