Organic Gardening and Farming
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Shares now available. Go to our CSA page for more info.
A recent video shot by the Local Growers Guild that features our permaculture gardens and info about what we are doing.... http://vimeo.com/48612928
Here at the Ecovillage we truly believe in "Being the change you wish to see in the world," and that is what sets us apart. With over a decade of experience in organic gardening, farming and permaculture, the Farm Leader, Michael Hicks, and the other ecovillage members are ready to turn the new Ecovillage land into acres of food forest. This will include moving Michael's established market farm (since 2004) and expanding beyond that to include orchards, animals, and much more. Michael, Amanda, and others also operate Riverside Permaculture Gardens in Jasper. During the 2011 season, we were growing nearly 200 species of vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, and flowers in these gardens.
The Ecovillage envisions a world in which all communities have access to healthy, locally-grown, organic food and herbal medicine which are grown in ways that are both environmentally and personally sustainable.
Ecovillage Farmers Needed
We have a very substantial vision for the Ecovillage farm! Farming and the production of food is very integral to the Ecovillage Mission. Growing food is our lifestyle. It is our goal to work together to provide for the basic food needs of the community (Michael, Amanda, and others are already providing the majority of the diet for those living at Riverside Permaculture Gardens). Not only do we want to just provide food, but we want to do so in a way that is in harmony with ourselves and our planet. We intend to take the model of the Riverside Permaculture Gardens (possibly the largest permaculture gardens in Indiana) and create a larger version on the Ecovillage land. Another intention of the farm is to provide income for community members and the community itself, both through the sale of fresh produce and processed items from our commercial farm kitchen (which we intend to build in 2013).
There are many possibilities for individuals to get involved in our farm operation. We currently have an apprenticeship program, intend to take work-exchangers, and are seeking those who would like to be a part of the farm leadership. Our intent is to create both Ecovillage owned operations and for the Ecovillage to act as an umbrella for farmers to run their own businesses(e.g. for example the Ecovillage may own the orchard, but it may make more sense for specific individuals to run their own herbal business). There will be a farm leadership committee who will work together to balance the needs of the individuals, ecovillage, and the ground we are working on. The goal will be to create a vertically-integrated farm - meaning we are saving our seeds, producing our own compost, growing our crops, processing the foods, and selling the product...
We are currently looking for individuals to lead the following areas of farming:
Animals(Dairy Cows, Chickens for Eggs, Dairy Goats, Dairy Sheep)
Medicinal and Culinary Herbs
Lots more possibilities!
Please email Michael at farmleader (at) indianacommunity.org if you are interested
What is Organic?
Here at The Ecovillage we go far beyond what is classified as 'Certified Organic' according to the USDA. Growing food and interacting with the Earth is a significant part of our soul's journey in this life. We go much beyond not using any chemical spray or fertilizers - our intent is to make the garden as sustainable as possible. We get our fertilizer from nature's gifts - leaves, grass, straw, animal manure, compost, green manure crops (crops grown specifically to be tilled into the soil to add nutrients). We use a method of mulching and planting that promote a biological rich soil, full of earthworms and decaying organic matter. The mulching also holds in moisture, which means we water less, and keeps down most weeds as well. We use the raised bed method of gardening, which needs less tilling and therefore less fossil fuel input. Our compost comes from our food scraps and also from local restaurants. Swells (basically terraces) in the garden allow water to seep into beds also prevent erosion. We start almost of all our plants from seed (much heirloom) and try to save as many seeds as possible from year to year. We companion plant as much as possible to allow a more natural and balanced space, which helps to keep the insect populations in check.
To us, Organic means using what nature has already provided us. Just as the forest has its own natural cycles of fertility, we believe a garden can be very bountiful by mimicking many principles of nature that are found all around us.
What is Holistic Gardening?
Gardening and Farming goes far beyond just growing food (in today's supermarkets we would question if what they are selling is actually food in the first place, due to the GMO varieties, etc.). Growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs goes far beyond what can be called 'organic' by the federal government. It's about a process that is organic in nature - about being more in touch with ourselves and Mother Earth.
We focus on practicing what we call, holistic gardening, which is about more than growing healthy plants on a physical level. This type of gardening incorporates both what is healthy for ourselves from a mind, body, heart, and spirit perspective and also encourages walking as gently as possible with Mother Earth, so that her cycles are kept in balance as well.
To give you several examples, this means from an environmentally sustainable point of view, we do things such as using spoiled hay/straw as mulch (as opposed to using black plastic like many other conventional or organic farms), using people power, mulch, perennials, and smart planting to control weeds (many even organic farms use lots of petroleum by tilling with a tractor constantly).
From a personally sustainable point of view, we try to garden in a way that is very yogic. We access different types of our yin/yang energy depending on what accomplishes our goals the most effectively. We interact with the garden in ways that support good posture and body dynamics. Our gardens are intended to be created in the first place, by a system that makes sense, and takes much from permaculture based ideas. After all of this is said and done, we still come out of the garden very tired some days. We balance this by using the healing arts, whether it be yoga, massage, meditation, or group processing.
What is Permaculture?
“Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments.”
Permaculture is a term coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and refers to the conscious design and maintenance of productive systems. Permaculture is a holistic design science based on the ethics: Care for the Earth, Care for the People, Return the Surplus and Minimize Consumption. As a solution based, whole system perspective, Permaculture focuses on ALL relationships within a system and is modeled on the stability, resiliency and diversity of natural ecosystems.
Permaculture offers a set of principles to follow, beginning with careful observation of natural patterns. By mimicking nature’s intelligence and the integration of plants, animals, buildings, people, and communities we are able to provide food, shelter, energy, material and non-material needs in a way that is restorative and regenerative for the good of all for many generations to come!
Permaculture is an evolving and expanding design system for ecological living and we are excited about creating a model, a demonstration garden, and learning site for US to share and grow in together.
For more information about Permaculture visit:
Creating a Bountiful Earth for Future Generations
The Earth will provide if we only allow it to. We are truly blessed here in Southern Indiana to have rich soil, plenty of rainfall, and a nice long growing season. Growing a garden is a co-creative effort between you and Mother Nature. By following a few simple principles, our yards can be turned into bountiful sources of thousands of lbs of food and medicine- vegetables, fruits, roots, herbs, nuts, and flowers.