A FARM IN BALANCE
There is a special feeling that comes from having an intimate relationship with your food. At Merriwood, that will include knowing exactly where your food comes from, knowing your farmer, and having a direct role in ensuring that your food is made with respect for the environment and for your health. It will also mean that you can have faith that your food production will be there when you need it.
The modern agricultural and food system is unsustainable and tenuous, depending on massive inputs of fossil fuels, and reliant on a global logistics system transporting equipment, supplies, chemicals, and the food itself across vast distances. Because of erosion caused by conventional farming, nearly half of the world’s most productive soil has disappeared in the last 150 years, threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution and dead zones. In the US alone, soil on cropland is eroding 10 times faster than it can be replenished.
The system is unstable, unethical, and ultimately unhealthful.
Merriwood will have a bio-integrated, regenerative, organic, and ethical farm. This means that Merriwood’s farm will build the soil, sequester greenhouse gases, increase biodiversity, respect animals, and integrate harmoniously with the surrounding wild landscape. During normal operations, it will operate as a farm share, or CSA (community supported agriculture) and provide fresh farm-to-table fruit, vegetables, grains, eggs, and meat, for Merriwood residents. During emergencies, the farm is designed to be able to scale up to meet all of the caloric and nutritional needs of the entire community.
Members of the community are welcome and encouraged to participate on the farm. There is lots of digging, planting, picking, shearing, herding, building, sorting, and planning to do, and many other jobs. However, participation is only by choice and interest. With the support of our HOA dues, the professional farm staff will efficiently manage the entire operation. If an extended emergency arises and the community needs to produce all of its own food for an extended period, then residents of the community will be recruited to increase the production capacity to meet the community needs.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Fresh eggs, fruits, and vegetables will be available for pick-up at the Community Barn (near Sundragon Lodge) throughout the growing season. In the off-season eggs and more durable produce such as tubers and squash, will be provided as needed and available. All community members will be allocated a certain number of points that are included in the HOA fee to use to select produce they want. Unused points and produce will be redistributed or sold commercially.
Organic and ethically produced meat will be available at key moments, such as a turkey for Thanksgiving and other special occasions.
Once fully scaled up over 10 years, the farm will include at least 100 acres of crop production including grains, row (vegetable) crops, orchards, hay and pasture for various livestock including sheep, lamas, cows, pigs, goats and horses.
THE FARM PLAN
The Agricultural Land Plan at Merriwood balances a modern agrarian landscape with the ecological diversity, value, and beauty of the surrounding wildlands. Steeped in existing site features, characteristics, and patterns, this regenerative landscape plan - over time and once established - seamlessly integrates with the surrounding forest lands to provide a resilient natural resource that meets community members’ needs.
Broad agricultural zones and uses are delineated and described with the intent of providing a sustainable and reliable nutrition source for roughly 50 households, or 300 people, year-round. A total of approximately 100 acres is allocated for agricultural production, with the amount of acreage given to each cropping system based upon typical yields, dietary habits, and an estimated caloric need for each individual of the community. Within that basic framework, the plan adjusts numbers slightly to account for initial low-levels of production during establishment, includes the flexibility of each agricultural use to accommodate up to 10-20% of the additional crop for market once established, and identifies areas of potential agricultural expansion.
Managed productively, the forested landscape throughout the property provides a rich fabric of additional health, wellness, and nutritional supports. An additional 25 acres of agroforestry areas are identified based on proximity to other proposed agricultural uses and individual parcels while another 75 acres of improved woodlands double as potential future agricultural expansion areas and lend themselves to more extensive cultivation and/or focus on productive forest management. Here, community members gather and forage wild foods, medicines, and materials while also enjoying both passive and active recreation.