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Alley Cropping with Entertainment as the Alley Crop

Posts: 38
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
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I am passionate about growing trees. I also also passionate about disc golf. In disc golf you stand on a tee, throw a frisbee-like disc counting throws until, you toss into into a target basket, usually metal but it can be a painted post. Holes on my three courses range from 190' to 770' in length. In fifteen years courses in the uS have grown from 800 to 6,0000 and the industry for private courses is taking off.

The first time I saw an aerial view of a permaculture farm I thought out loud, "That looks like a disc golf course."

As spring approaches, let me share my experience that disc golf and tree growing work well together. You might consider trying this. I started taking donations on my farm/disc golf course last July, low key, not required, and collected nearly $2,000 by the end of the fall. If I had different zoning I could charge a fee and make a lot more.

For four years I have been planting mostly fruit and nut trees (more than 8,000 total so far) to reforest the 14 acres of my 19 acres that had been tilled until about 15 years ago. But instead of rows for most I am planting them in a design that creates a challenging and lovely disc golf course.

I now have three nine-hole courses installed and playable. It's alley cropping but the alleys are disc golf fairways and the alley crop is entertainment. Golfers have already been able to pick a few cherries and some blackberries. Pretty soon they will have apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, persimmons, paw paw, raspberries, and every kind of nut you can think of, plus across from twenty different kinds of oaks.

If it turns out that we end up producing lots of edible stuff, when my wife retires in three years we will look at using the raw materials in cottage foods like energy bars to sell to the disc golfers and also develop a farm stand. Lots of options.

But the point is that the trees will take a while to support us. The disc golf has already started to. Plus, how much more permaculture can you get than building in physical activity and community?

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