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.


Forest Gardening: Growing a Community for your Orchard


Check out the latest issue of USDA Agroforestry News, featuring our farm's experiment with growing food forests, building community.

And here's a little preview/teaser for some tips for getting started...

Tips for your food forest: 

Forest garden guilds can also serve as a metaphor for how you relate to people and to your community. A few transferrable tips to consider while you establish your food forest: 

Observe! Pay attention to what’s going on. Light, water, slope, past land use, organization history, etc. Connect to place, connect to the people and plants there. This will help inform decisions. 

Build your soil – if possible take 1 – 3 years transitioning with a mix of cover crops. Start adding fertility in the form of plants. Choose your nitrogen fixer – in our guilds it’s seaberry, purple prairie clover, baptista, but it could be any of the legumes or Elaganceae family. In your community look for ways to build mutually beneficial relationships. A good example of building community is the Value Chain Partnership in Iowa; they’ve created nested networks across food sectors to grow their local food economy. The Midwest Agroforestry Working Group is also a new network wherein practitioners can pose questions and share expertise. 

Add a dynamic accumulator – go deep and deepen your relationships and commitment to your life purpose. Examples in the plant world include horseradish root, compass plant, and comfrey. Community organizations can accelerate growth too. Through their delegations and connections with their growers and coffee drinkers, Just Coffee Cooperative has built deep, transparent relationships in understanding and practicing Fair Trade (and coffee thrives in an agroforestry system!). 

Insectory – build beneficial habitat – this helps manage for risk, repel disease, attract beneficial insects. Elderberry, dill, and calendula can all help provide beneficial habitats for insects. At the community scale, create space for inclusiveness that allow for diverse habitats of people and ideas to be expressed. 

Food – plant what feeds you! Add flavor and spice to your idea. At the end of the day what will keep you going? For example, quince live over 100 years and we can expect yields of 400 - 600 lbs fruit/ tree. That’s a serious amount