Hello Fellow Permies! We are 5 weeks into our new Homestead/Farm here in Western MI. I'd love feedback on our plans, as we are intent on creating abundance in all areas. We have lived on a number of organic farms and ranches and had our own 1-acre homestead, but were not relying on it for income or a large percentage of our needs. I am a Permaculture novice, studying as I can while we go, so if I have missed any fundamentals, please don't hesitate to point them out.
We are in Zone 5, in the middle of a cluster of small villages, 1/2 hour from Big Rapids (small city), 1 1/2 hours from Grand Rapids (big-ish city), and 2 hours from Lansing (medium city). Our land is 7 acres of slightly south sloping mixed pine and hardwood (oak/maple/elm) and 3 acres of medium sloping south-facing mixed, with 2 acres of Spruce Christmas trees, 1 acre of mature lumber pine, 1 acre cleared garden space, and 6 acres of mixed. The garden space and 1 1/2 acres of mixed land are well-fenced.
We are about to start 1/2 acre of veg fruit herbs and mushrooms, 1/2 acre of cut flowers and garlic, with 1 1/2 acres for animals, rotationally grazed in Silvopasture style.
Planning on 2-3 Farmer's Markets a week, and approx 30 CSA customers to start.
The 1/2 acre veg/fruit/herb garden is based on JM Fortier's style, with a few hugelbeets to try them out. We have a small hoophouse for a nursery. We have a mix of varieties, some traditional, some heritage, some edgy.
The 1/2 acre cut flowers are 75% edible, with many being Chinese or Western herbs- a good way for me to market my other skills as an Acupunturist/Nutritionist/Holistic Personal Chef/Yoga Teacher.
We are planning 3 runs of rotationally grazed 300 Cornish Cross and 150 BB turkeys and 20 heritage pigs. We are also picking up 2 Nubians in milk for our personal needs and our amazing goat milk soap, and if we have extra, we will offer shares. We are picking up a GP to help guard.
I plan on offering a number of seasonal veg packs- eg. Stir-fry, Ratatoullie, Salsa, Eggplant Parm, Grilling, etc.
Any unsold fresh produce will feed the animals and-or be dried for snack and soup and tea blends. Or in dried flower wreaths
Value-added options include: smoked onions/shallots/garlic, herbal salves/tinctures/oils (which I have been making for years),
Next year we are fencing off the perimeter, sectioning off the back 3 hilled acres for rotational grazing for 2-4 dairy cows and steers next year. As we sell of the Xmas trees, we will use that space to garden next year, adding in tree guilds as possible. As we harvest the mature pines for our Cordwood house and barn, we will plant acid-loving guilds.
We are innoculating 100+ 4-ft oak/maple/basswood logs with Shiitake, Reishi, and Lions Mane, are planning on 15 bags a week of straw and hardwood for Shiitakes and Reishi and Oysters, and growing Wine Caps in our hardwood mulch.
Other plans include a small pond (enlarging a 20 ft diameter depression) for ducks, a cold room for produce,
Still researching contouring and swales.
Any other recs?
Thanks in advance, Hara at Phoenix Forest Farm
Awesome! Lots of plans! The general rule is start small, start with earth, move to plants afterwards. Draw up your plan, watch the plot for a year, weed your traditional grow beds early. Don't burn yourself out and expect failure for at least 3 years. Changing an entire ecosystem is a huge, godly job. Good luck!
Work smarter, not harder.
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)