Sometime in October 2008, we felt well settled in our new environment. It was time to focus on the farm’s design as an eco-system but we didn’t feel like we were ready enough. We had some goals and ideas, a rough design and even a task list but the details were missing. So Ragu and I decided to wait and learn, learn and wait.
We started reading books and magazines suggested by local friends and well-wishers. We visited quite a few farms in our neighbourhood. The visits were useful but not fruitful. Most farms were designed for two dimensions and mono-culture.
Then we became friends and volunteers with the local Organic Farmers Association and got to meet many good folks. But their methods had external material dependencies built into them and those farms had no trees or ponds. Most of their concerns had to do with better marketing of organic produce in the city.
We did visit one farm that perked us up. A friend’s friend had returned from the States to practice Spiritual Farming with the help of his parents. He has a beautiful eco-system spread over 11 acres in which trees and crops co-exist with bees and frogs. They grew herbs, veggies, fruits and flowers primarily for their consumption plus that of squirrels and sparrows. This farm had no external material dependencies except for seeds and saplings. But his labor of love was too labor and hence, cost intensive. Their labor cost itself was more than our total monthly budget for living and was clearly unaffordable. We were definitely prepared to spend some money in the first year but beyond that, we wanted the expenses to be a minimal.
We want to sow and grow as sustainably as we can. The means isn’t very clear and our not-to-do list keeps growing 🙂