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Holzer's initial planning details

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Hey Zach, THANK YOU for doing this! I have been wanting to reach out to one of Sepp's children to attempt to begin trying to pick their brains from a far but this chance to converse with a student of his rocks...as we walk with the sun each day, longing to remember a beautiful place in all this, we thank you again for your time here.

Zone 3 Agroecology
Hello Im writing because this seems to be the thread Ive been waiting for! Thanks to all for its generation!

Im writing from Gunnison, CO and preparing for our 4th farming season at above 9000ft in the CO Rockies!
We own all of Sepp's books and are very excited about how tried and true his experiences are and love illustrative style along with the lifetime of knowledge being offered.

In our 4th year of farming we are beginning a relationship with a more lush pasture, up until know we have been farming with plants and animals on Alpine Desert land with minimal well water.

In stepping into our new project and tip toeing out onto the land I am trying to put together a deep plan for analysis of the land, seeing as I nor anyone involved has ever lived on the land we want to get essential soil testing, hydrological test and begin to ID all native animal/plant species before hoping to paint the picture for us what live is there so we can in turn begin thinking about what type of amendments to utilize in any said project in the future on the land. To illustrate "the land" briefly, located off of the valley bottom this rising 150 acres crawls in Roaring Judy creek and her lush forest which eventually becomes USFS land, as one loos uphill in the creek ravine you can see how man has manipulated the hillside to eradicate the forest, this is where we would begin to work agroecolgy, reforesting by retaining the water of Roaring Judy and terracing the land.

We will be continuing to run what we consider "short term" projects (hoop house greens, eggs, goat csa) to generate funds for the farm but are looking to be taking steps of intent towards walking an agroecological way.

So I guess a first question, if any of what Ive written to this point is relevant, does Agroecology have a bucket list for initial planning details? Or how do I go from study of the land to confident agroecological action?

Long Life, HoneyintheHeart
Alec Solimeo

Posts: 304
Location: Montana
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Hey Alec, thank you for the thoughtful question!

Alec Solimeo wrote:does Agroecology have a bucket list for initial planning details?

There is no real bucket list for initial planning details but I will describe the process that I go through in the analysis of a property. The water is always the most important part, and the first thing to be observed and planned. Everything else builds off of the water in layers. The first thing is to understand where the property is in the larger landscape and watershed. What is uphill, what is downhill. How many acres drain through the property. Google earth is great for this kind of analysis.

This gives you a general idea of possibilities with the landscape, how much water flows through it and where that water might be. From there developing a plan to keep the water on the property for as long as possible. Naturally the best place for a pond is often one of the best places to find clay, because of the way water sorts the material. It sounds like you have a really terrific property, with running water and forested hillside above. This is an ideal setup, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Do you have a water right? Or any claim or ability to use the water? Colorado is the worst state for water law in the Nation. The laws are written in a similar way in Montana but fortunately they do not interpret them the same way.

Alec Solimeo wrote:how do I go from study of the land to confident agroecological action?

This lies in building models. If you are ever not sure, or are just starting out, make to scale models with the actual material. Once the model is done simulate severe rainfall and observe what happens. Does it hold up? Did the dam break? Was the spillway big enough? Come back in a couple of days... Is the clay holding water? Is the landscape being hydrated by this water?

Sepp built his first ponds by hand as a child. He has made every mistake you can imagine. The trick is to make all of the mistakes in a model so you are confident when it comes to the real installation. If you are looking for any help with the site analysis and project plan I am happy to help, this now makes up the majority of my business. Best of luck, this sounds like a terrific project!
Alec Solimeo
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I am super excited to here more about your offerings in hope of hiring you for some late spring work. Feel free to contact me here or at gunnypa@gmail.com
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