In 2009, we kept our first garden, a 10 x 15 foot plot at Rockpoint School in Burlington. With only memories of traveling west as a child past fields of corn and soy and another of sitting in my grandmothers tomato garden at 2 1/2 years of age, I placed bare feet into the soil and built raised beds for broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, peas and some basil to offset our grocery bill. Little was it known, that the first season spent on this patch of land would help me find a sense of purpose in life and appreciation towards community.
Gaia's Garden, by late Toby Hemingway, was one of my first influences from the permaculture movement. It became clear that this holistic approach was most beneficial to developing food systems diverse in yield, adaptable to change, and resilient by nature. Our plots doubled in size each year and the information that was shared through books, was applied and learned from as mistakes and successes were made.
What is now Wild Roots Farm Vermont, began in 2013 with a vision of developing a 2.5 acre homestead nestled beneath the Bristol Cliffs Wilderness Area. For the next two years, we would introduce various forms of organic matter with limited tillage to improve the quality of our site and encourage biological activity. During this time, we also built a barn/workshop with 350 year old reclaimed wood and began selectively harvesting timbers for mushroom cultivation. 2015 set us in a different direction as began to work with student groups and veterans, offering opportunities to work with and value a diverse eco-system. Our plans to build a home briefly subsided with the understanding that this site was to be used for educational purposes and not for raising a family.
By the Spring of 2016, we had moved onto our homestead site, 10.5 acres of open pasture and woodlands with several micro-climates and opportunities to develop various food systems. Our educational outreach increased as students, community members and local veterans began attending workshops and volunteering their time building soil, planting trees and installing wildlife corridors. Within a short period, we had established a silvo-pasture for rotational grazing of goats and poultry, installed a 3,600 square foot forest garden, built annual beds, a high tunnel for annual/perennial production and planted 300 hundred trees valued for their ability to cycle nutrients, provide forage and habitat and yield food for human and wildlife consumption.
Wild Roots Farm Vermont is an educational landscape focused on community engagement through practical application. We utilize regenerative/restorative practices to develop resilient food systems and assist community members in viewing the landscape through an ecological lens.
By planning for and designing rotation cycles (crop and grazing patterns), perennial poly-cultures (for food, medicine and pollinator forage), bio-mass plantings (to increase organic matter in soil) and suitable workshops for our communities, we increase our ability to adapt to shifting weather patterns, decrease the need for mechanical equipment and irrigation and account for the life-cycle of a living system that we are a part of.
It is important to recognize that farming and planning land & food systems are some of the most noble tasks we can perform in this day and age. We are at a point in history where the majority of our farmers are at retirement age and the demand for new farmers is increasing daily. With advances in technology and a younger motivated generation dedicated to innovation and environmental justice, a unique opportunity stands before us demanding that we move in a direction that accounts for our future generations. This is our world and there is only one of them. We owe it to our children and descendants to make an effort that will let them live healthy and fruitful lives from a humble perspective and an understanding our our mistakes and triumphs.
We are dedicated to helping build healthy communities capable of growing and raising their food and planning for their future.
-Wild Roots Farm Vermont