I shared in February how at the Small Farm Conference we agreed that farming was something we wanted to pursue.
So the research and planning began. We have been visiting farms, reading great books like “The Lean Farm” and “The Accidental Farmers” for frameworks and inspiration. We have scoured the USDA, NRCS and FSA websites for information to help beginning farmers and to explore programs and grants offered. We have learned what all those acronyms (and more) are. Purdue Extension Services offers webinars, seminars, blogs, email and phone support. We have found tremendous help no matter what resource we have turned to.
After writing our own requirements and objectives for becoming farmers we reached out to NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Services) and invited them to come out to our place to visit. We wanted to share with them our plan and our dreams for a tunnel that we hope to get via an EQIP Grant . We hope to irrigate via our pond dependent of course on how our water tests. We want to power our irrigation and electricity in the tunnel with solar power. We fantasize about providing fresh produce for our community year around using our outside resources and extending our growing season using the tunnel.
Two folks visited and walked our land with us. They spent a good amount of time listening. They were quite awesome and they left us with our next steps and a plan to help us on our path. Of course that meant a bunch of paperwork!
We are happy to share that our paper work is completed, signed, sealed and delivered. We are now in the hopper for tunnel next spring. HOW EXCITING!
Now the fun part begins (although it really is all fun). We are figuring out how to prep our land this fall to get it ready for the tunnel. We are positioning the tunnel where we currently grow, so after the season we will dump compost and plant cover crop. We are reading about planting in tunnels and visiting farmers that have them. I need to adopt my garden plan which is based on outside planting and elements and create a tunnel planting plan. It is all new stuff to learn- what varieties, when to plant, when to rotate, etc.
So we are becoming farmers. Not overnight, but we are on our journey and moving forward.
Happy Unleashing today!