Our main aim is to develop the smallholding using low input, sustainable systems such as permaculture, biodynamics and organics. We are aware of the twin issues of peak oil and climate change and will do what we can to minimise our carbon output and to prepare for a future without cheap oil. Whilst aiming to be as self-reliant as possible we would also like to connect with like-minded people and to encourage others by holding courses, farm walks and giving talks.
Apart from growing conventional veg and fruit, we are interested in the possibility of establishing a permaculture forest garden on part of the 5 acre field with a view to growing perennial food plants, nuts and unusual fruits.
We would also like to keep some livestock and have reserved a suitable area for their living accommodation and for producing some of their food. Our colony of honey bees has survived their first winter and they are busy around our plants and smallholding – we look forward to having our own honey.
Our woodburning cooker also provides heating and hot water and is the heart of the house. We would like to be 100% self-sufficient in wood fuel but this would need about 10 acres of woodland cut on a rotational basis which we don’t have (yet). So we have planted a mini woodland of over 1000 trees and included some short rotation coppice.
By creating a series of different habitats we hope to build on the existing ecosystem, which will be of benefit to nature as well as the smallholding. To this end we are allowing our boundary hedges to grow up to a suitable size for laying.