Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email:

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,

PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.


Sometimes Good Neighbors Build Good Fences...

Digging in toward the home stretch...

Since we extended the invitation for others to be part of growing our fruit n farm community by supporting our fencelifting campaign, we had an idea of what we needed ($5,900) to support costs and labor, and to build a long lasting, reliable and sustainable piece of infrastructure that would support the next generation of orchardists and fruit lovers.

With three weeks into our campaign, we are reminded that fence-building, like farming, relies on our ability to respectfully be in relation to the Earth and in relation with people, observe openly and learn before taking action.

What we have recently learned is that contrary to poetic insight, good neighbors do build good fences. Being a pragmatic opportunist, and having spent time building relationships with our farm neighbors, we were able to rally equipment to help with hole digging, and boy did our neighbors crank out 60, 4' holes in just over 3 hours! Wow, we are so grateful to Denny, Dave, and Diane for your willingness to rally, on a glorious October day, and help with our project.

I gazed admiringly down the hole and felt the different soil horizons between my hands (4' is about the depth which you can get a full glimpse of a soil profile - and boy did our Valton silty clay loam series glow in the autumn sunlight), I got to thinking. What if 60 people kicked in $20 each and Rob and I, as your farmers, would dig in and plant 60 fruit trees and shrubs as a way of extending our fruit filled gratitude. We are confident we can reach our goal. Drawing from experiences digging miles of holes in Alaska while doing soil survey work for the NRCS, and having planted ~ 44,000 trees and shrubs so far in my lifetime. What's another 220' of holes, and 20 more trees? What's another $20?

With just over a week to go the end results are looking to be greater than the sum of its parts (kind of like planting a food forest). We are so grateful to our 57 funders and hundreds of people who have helped with spreading the word, volunteering their time, and offering encouragement along the way. We would be so grateful to welcome in a few new funders and supporters with our campaign. Just think of all that future fruit! Thank you!

neighbors Denny and Dave, helping with the hole digging. Thank you! Photo by Erin Schneider

neighbors Denny and Dave, helping with the hole digging. Thank you! Photo by Erin Schneider

Meanwhile, here's a bit of campaign rationale from the back-forty:

We are a small farm, trying to grow food as sustainably as possible, experimenting with new techniques and crops in our region, and seeking to make both our successes and failures available to others as a way to collaboratively advance what we see as the future of farming. At the moment, near-constant grazing by deer, woodchucks, and other animals on our experimental orchards is setting our work back significantly.

While we typically consider financial sustainability essential part of sustainable farming, we also understand that the wider public has an interest in seeing forms of agriculture develop which can sustain the worl'ds population without destroying its soil, atmosphere and genetic integrity. We therefore thought we'd reach out in this instance for help funding a one-time piece of infrastructure that we can't otherwise afford, yet will benefit our farm and community for generations to come.