With the season coming to a close we find ourselves reflecting on 2019 thus far. It has been a unique season rich with growth and studded with successes and failures. While reflecting we consider things you might expect like: crop successes & failures. pest control, weed suppression, our CSA, and the wonderful people that work here. But, 2019 brought some much bigger things along with it. Things that will improve Gateway farm for the better, both in an environmental aspect, but also further our connection with the land, the native species, and our community.
In early summer, Mary Emmett the owner of Gateway farm and Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill met with Bridget O'Brien and Charlie Brennan of Resilient Spirals. Mary always had a vision of creating a beautiful and peaceful farm with plenty of educational spaces and opportunities for the community. After meeting with Bridget and Charlie, and learning more about their specialties in permaculture and landscaping designs, they hit the ground running. Once they created the new design for the farm and met with the township, Bridget and Charlie's first order of business was earthworks. Things like grading the land, and preparing it for new structures like hoop houses and event spaces, as well as implementing permeable access roads to navigate the farm more efficiently. We all pitched in clearing invasive species and poison ivy along the fence line. Discarding the overgrown vegetation created great opportunities for passers-by to sneak a peek at the farm. Once the fence was cleared Resilient Spirals with the help of Integrity Landscaping created a natural barrier out of native plants and fruiting trees running along the fence. This natural corridor will not only protect the farmers and crops from the noisy road, but it also provides birds and other critters with a tempting food supply other than our crops and newly planted seeds.
Now that the necessary permits have been approved, Bridget and Charlie will move forward with their design and create two water features on the property. They wanted to incorporate water features into the design as a way to add relief back into the landscape after being flattened for years as a driving range and more recently as a farm. These water features will also help drain water away from production fields in addition to extra water storage used in irrigation. These water features are both beneficial to the operation of the farm as well as acting as a habitat for native plants and animals. They plan to build up berms around each water feature in order to create natural microclimates. Each water feature will have its own unique characteristics and benefits. One will feature an edible perennial garden, while the other a native species habitat and covered wooden structure to act as a gathering area for the workers and community. The Resilient Sprials crew is incredibly intentional with their design. Although we are still at the beginning stages of this project it has been very interesting and exciting to see how everything is coming together. As hard as it is to wait, things will halt over the winter. As things begin to thaw in the spring they will asses how the water moves on the land and move forward from there. I look forward to sharing the journey of this project with you in the newsletter and on social media next season! Find more information about Resilient Spirals on their website http://resilientspirals.com/about/ or on social media at https://www.instagram.com/gardenjujucollective/.