Week of August 7th – CSA Newsletter

Holy smokes, we made it through last week without any rain until Friday night. What a relief! That meant lots of busy work on the tractor. We were able to get a field mowed that has had standing water for most of the season. The next step is to get it plowed so we can … Read more

Edible Acres Permaculture Farm Field Trip

Edible Acres Permaculture Farm Field Trip – Student Post by Juliet

Edible Acres Permaculture Garden
Permaculture Garden at Edible Acres

The summer Integrated Pest Management class had the opportunity to take a field trip on Monday June 19th, 2017 to see Sean Dembrosky’s homestead farm, Edible Acres.  Edible Acres is a permaculture farm business and nursery where he plants, cultivates, cares for, harvests, and sells both perennial and annual plants like chestnut trees, currants, wild onions, and cacti.  He farms several plots of land throughout the Ithaca area, owned by several different people.  This flexibility allows him the opportunity to continually expand his business and experiment with different practices since he is not tied down by the cost of land ownership.

It was a gray, drizzly day on Monday, and the sky threatened to crack and cause a downpour.  The  weather this spring has been a complete reversal from what we had experienced at this same time last year.  In any case, this was farming, and rain or no rain, we were all excited to head out on this field trip.  And so, we quickly bundled up into our raincoats and jumped in the van to make the short drive to Sean’s homestead.

When we arrived at Edible acres, Sean eagerly greeted us in the front of his yard.  Our class had worked with him previously, because he helped us to create a small nursery and permaculture minded growing space at the farm where we planted our gooseberry, elderberry, and currant bushes.  It was during this past workshop that  we learned about the true meaning behind the term ‘permaculture’.  Coined by its founder, Bill Mollison, permaculture is actually a combination of two words- permanent and agriculture.  According to Mollison, Permaculture is an ethically based design system for human habitation that is in harmony with the natural world.   Mollison himself states that, “It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing for their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”   For example, pumpkins planted in between hop plants, the ‘Three Sisters’ (corn, beans, and squash) system of planting, or peas trailing up a nut tree would all be examples of permaculture practices. (http://library.open.oregonstate.edu/permaculture/chapter/what-is-permaculture/)

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Week of August 1st – CSA Newsletter

Hallelujah! It’s rained and I mean, a real live soak into the ground and saturate things rain. This is a much needed relief. Not only for the plants but for all us crop savior’s who take turns watering for hours each day, every week. The plants are surely going to like it and I’m excited … Read more

Week of July 18th – CSA Newsletter

So, guess what folks? The US Drought Monitor has upgraded our area to “severe” drought. I’m not sure that designation brought any relief to our students or plants but I guess it’s nice to have some validation. We’ve gotten a little rain in the last week but again we need some soakers. I’m not too … Read more

Sustainable Growers Trip to Cornell Botanical Garden

TC3 Sustainable Growers Gardening Club – Cornell Plantations Botanical Field Trip – Student Post by Indigo

Cornell Botanical Gardens
Cornell Botanical Gardens Welcome Center

A monk by the name of St. Bernard of Clairvaux once claimed, “You will find more in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.”. I couldn’t agree more with this, the idea of nature providing more wisdom and knowledge than any human ever could. If focused in the present and observe what is, one can find an unparalleled education that is objective in the most extreme, provided by mother nature herself. That is exactly why the TC3 Sustainable Growers Gardening Club decided to take a Friday afternoon to go on a private tour at the Cornell Plantations Botanical Garden by Cornell’s Adult Educator & Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Moss.

On April 15th, we all meet up at the Botanical Gardens mid-afternoon. We really lucked out on the weather, while it was rather cold and grey all week, our tour day is nothing but clear blue skies and sunshine! Although it is fair weather, most plants have yet to bloom and pop with colors, but no matter – there is still plenty to be observed.  We meet Kevin in front of the parking lot sidewalk, where a map of the gardens stands. Once acquainted, he begins to tell us about the intentional design of the U-sloped ditch in front of the lot. Various shrubs and plants just short of budding are arranged along the inside of the ditch, which he explains is carefully designed to drain rainwater on a slowly on an angle, in order to prevent erosion and the loss of soil nutrients. Even the parking lot was designed in coordination, so the water can drain from there mindfully as well.

Cornell Botanical Herb Garden
Cornell Plantations Herb Garden

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Maple Syrup Production and Field Trip

Maple Syrup Production Field Trip – TC3 Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Program

Today we are sharing one of the experiences that the students in the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Program at TC3 have had this semester. In addition to their coursework in Agroecology (ENVS 140), and the seeding and planting they have done in the greenhouse and hoophouse, our students have joined us on 2 exciting field trips to farm/food businesses in the community this Spring.

Sapsquatch

The first field trip we took was to Sapsquatch Sugarbush to see a small scale maple syrup operation. Josh Dolan has about 500 taps in his sugarbush in Enfield, NY, 8 miles from Ithaca on Route 79. Sapsquatch also offers a number of education events and work trade experiences throughout the year. You can check out the Facebook page HERE.

When we arrived, Josh was in the process of boiling down a batch of sap, but was generous enough to spend about 45 minutes talking with us about the process, and the history of his operation. We learned a whole lot about maple syrup production, and the potential for small scale maple syrup production in the area. Josh has managed to grow his operation without taking on significant debt, and has plans to expand further over the coming years – tapping more trees and investing in a reverse osmosis system to concentrate his sap so that it can be boiled down faster.

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