About twenty folks gathered on Earth Day, April 22 for a presentation from John and Nancy Hayden of the Farm Between which lies between Jeffersonville and Cambridge. The name actually refers to their transition from the dairy farm they started with, into a regenerative farm.
After 27 years of operation, the Farm Between has now evolved into a “perennial polyculture” farm. John said their goal is to go beyond sustainable, or preserving the status quo, and to be regenerative; rebuilding the soil, land and ecosystem. John added that as life begets life, their farm promotes biodiversity as much as possible, by replicating natural systems.
They’ve also diversified their products, incorporated hoop houses and perennial planting, diverted hayfields into pollinator sanctuaries, established riparian zone management, incorporated no till, and improved composting strategies.
Six years ago they added their fruit nursery, helping visitors get started with edible landscaping and pollinator friendly plants...ever hear of hazelburts?!
With about four acres always in production, their pollinator sanctuary takes up the remaining fourteen acres whereby various successions take place: milkweed to goldenrod & joe pye weed and then to asters, all without mowing in between, allowing natural succession to unfold.
John said that about 30% of our plants require pollinators; they’ve seen improved production on their land due to the pollinator sanctuary. When he showed pictures of stunted cucumbers and raspberries that had been inadequately pollinated, I was reminded of some last year’s produce from my own garden!
He then gave a fascinating explanation of who pollinates what, including how wind pollinates trees, beetles pollinate goldenrod, orioles pollinate cherry blossoms and others, including bats which pollinate agave to make tequila.
John mentioned that ants, with the highest biomass of any insect in the world, pollinate peonies and are also vital as soil workers, turning over more soil than any other creature, including earthworms.
Small is definitely beautiful at The Farm Between, so pay the farm a visit; besides the nursery plants they have products such as elderberry-ginger-honey syrup and aronia cider. And watch for John’s book “Farming on the Wild Side” coming out this fall.
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