Sunday, March 29, 2009

Basic Overview/ Introduction

As I mentioned before this blog is an outlet for me to share my experiences here at Michael Fields and into the future. Therefore, I feel like a basic introduction of what I am doing is in store. I am enrolled in the New Farmer Foundation Year Program at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute(MFAI), which is a research and education institute for biodynamic, sustainable and organic agriculture. It is really hard for me to include everything that goes on here in this program, but I will try. First of all, I am one of 5 students enrolled in this particular program including Katie, Mara, Kirsten, Stephanie and Shawn(2nd year farm management apprentice). All of us are under the direction of Janet Gamble, Farm and Food Education Program Director. We, the students instructed by Janet and Shawn, are running a 50 member CSA here at Stella Gardens. Stella Gardens is part of the land here at MFAI and where the hands-on instruction explores all aspects of the farming lifestyle. The garden includes:
-About 1 acre of raised beds worked by hand (rotor tillers and hand tools)
- 2 acres of larger field plots (using a tractor)
- A greenhouse for starting seedlings, and a passive solar A-Frame style greenhouse for season extension(earlier planting in the spring and later into the fall)
- Perennial herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees including raspberries, currants, apples...
- Hoop house where tomatoes and peppers will be grown(under-construction )  

In order to plan the crops and manage the land for this CSA the students divided up the responsibility of crop families early on. My crops include tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, head lettuce, salad mix, swiss chard, arugula, spinach, collards, and mustard greens. So I apologize in advance if i show a bias towards these specific crops.