On The Farm

From the Farmer: Protecting the land we borrow

Every farm has land access concerns

If you are in an urban area – unless you have independent wealth – you are likely to find yourself farming on someone else’s land.

In his book, The Urban Farmer, Curtis Stone celebrates the virtues of farming on borrowed land. We think this is the way to go for urban farmers. It’s important that we (and anyone pursuing urban farming on borrowed land) think about the value of doing what’s right on someone else’s land. For example, a blueberry bush will take a few years to produce. By that time, the land may have changed hands multiple times. It would be really special if you cultivated strong and long-lasting relationships so that you can be there even if the land does change owners.

Urban Farmer
We’re diggin’ The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone – it’s helped us understand land use, crunch numbers, and plan for the future.

In my opinion, good stewardship always makes sense. It is up to us to mitigate any damage and begin to restore the land whether we own it or not. In the end, even if you do not get to taste that blueberry, if you see a perfect spot for an orchard, you should plant it. You never know how things will turn out. Regarding daily access to the land, be ready for anything. In the coming years, I hope to have multiple small plots in operation and other plots in development. When and if we lose one, we will hopefully be prepared to start another. All the while, we will do our best to help restore those lands whenever possible.

– Jason Schmidt, Farm Manager

On The Farm

Healthy Farms Start With Healthy Soil!

Healthy Farms Start With Healthy Soil

When we started the project, we recruited local partners to help us get started. We knew we needed land access, but we could not be sure about the soil quality. In most urban areas, the soil quality will be challenging for several reasons:

  • Past uses may have compacted the soil.
  • Nearby pollutants may have contaminated the soil.
  • Previous agricultural uses may have depleted the soil’s organic matter.

Since all of these could be true for our property, we partnered with Greater Greenville Sanitation, which provides full-service, non-hazardous, waste and recovery solutions to nearly 60,000 residential and commercial customers in Greenville County. We spent time at Greater Greenville Sanitation learning how they recycle yard waste to create nutrient-rich soil. This soil will be donated to our farm in the spring – most of which is made up of 3-year-old leafy materials. They’re already using their yard waste-turned-soil to grow food onsite. This food is then donated to those in need around the Greenville area. Diverting waste from landfills and donating food to local charities – how much better does it get? 

Healthy Farms Starts with Healthy Soil!
Greater Greenville Sanitation’s Yard Waste Facility

Greater Greenville Sanitation know the lay of the land and the quantities of material they can provide. They also have the necessary equipment to haul materials around. Ultimately, by partnering with the people who collect yard waste, you may actually be helping them reduce their hauling costs by allowing them to deliver local waste directly to your site.

Likewise, it’s great to work with an organization that prefers to find alternative uses for our waste rather than hauling it to landfills!