Minimize Harm and Maximize Symbiosis.
When faced with even the most basic decisions - like how much of our existing prairie do we want to convert into row crop fields and fruit tree orchard - we take the time to carefully consider how that decision will impact the overall ecological balance of our larger property and watershed, not just our bottom line of producing food for people. We take the time to study and deepen our understanding of who constitutes the various non-human communities that inhabit our land, what their specific needs are, and how best to accommodate them. As we continually shift the farm’s footprint toward more stability/biodiversity and less frequent disruptions of the soil, we plan to achieve an equilibrium level of food production in which we sustain the farm's human community with diversified delicious food and simultaneously create a sanctuary for a myriad of other life to thrive as well.
Grow Good Food.
On the day-to-day level, we practice diversified organic agriculture and a holistic approach to soil that builds fertility and biodiversity over time through minimizing tillage and other major disruptions of soil ecology. In years one through five, our goal is to quickly build the food growing capacity of our land. To do this we are converting approximately two of our six acres of prairie into a mix of perennial gardens, annual row crops, and biointensive fruit and nut orchards. This transformation of course requires some destruction of existing ecology through plowing, tilling, altering soil structure and composition, etc. However during and after this initial phase of growth, we plan to shift more and more of our cultivated areas to perennial plantings and site specific methods for less disruptive row cropping and minimal/no-till annuals.
Look Listen and Learn.
As farmer-stewards of the land, we strive to slow down, observe, study, listen, learn, integrate, and adapt. We look to experienced local experts for advice, we study and mimic their established systems whenever appropriate, we conduct our own site specific experiments and piloting, and we strive hard for the patience to progress neither too abruptly nor too slowly. Our eagerness and outright urgency to jump start the farm and quickly build a new livelihood in a new place has occasionally gotten the best of us. But with each new season, we feel calmer and more equipped to apply restraint when the impulse to action is strongest.
Take Care of Each Other.
East of Eden Farm is interdependent! We work hard to build relationships with our neighbors, to understand their needs and create a small community farm that meets the needs of local people not only with the food we offer but with the activities and the connections we facilitate. When we say we take care of each other, we are also referring to our non-human neighbors - the owls, eagles, ravens, ducks, deer, coyotes, moles, mice, worms, and myriad other creatures that rely on our forest and fields for food and shelter. We think it’s possible to create an “almost-Eden” where their needs and ours are met together, most of the time. That is our vision, at the end of the day, and the beginning.