Beyond the Demonstration Farm, No-Till Growers Regional Events
[Check out the awesome promo from Steven Cornett, Nature’s Always Right]
Towards the end of Growing a Revolution, David R. Montgomery’s excellent book about the increasing—and increasingly necessary—movement towards regenerative and no-till farming (a great listen if you’re too busy to read), he spills a lot of ink on the need for more demonstration farms where people can go and learn about no-till techniques in person. To see, to experience, regenerative farming in real time is a powerful experience.
Though he is mostly referring to large scale farms (think Gabe Brown and The Land Institute), we think the same can be said about small-scale farming, as well.
You see, last year, Jackson and I started looking into the possibility of No-Till Growers starting our own demonstration farm here in good ol’ Kentucky. Though we’re not ruling out a demo farm at some point—Rough Draft Farmstead is slowly becoming one anyway—we realized that the types of farms we want to emulate in some form already exist, we just need to organize events around those farms. To provide a framework for folks to gather around and experience these farms, not just read, or listen about them.
That has become part of the evolving focus of No-Till Growers for the year—figuring out how, exactly, to organize these events in various places, climates, situations, and with various farming styles, in a way that is viable for that farm and farmer(s)… and us as full time farmers ourselves, too!
The goal with these events is to bring people not just to the farms demonstrating what’s possible, but to farms who rely on their techniques for economic survival. We want to bring people to working farms—biological, profitable, scale-able, viable farms.
In the Spring, we announced an event with Daniel Mays of Frith Farm here in KY (which is almost sold out, only five tickets left as I write, y’all) and this week we announced a second no-till intensive with Jared Smith of Jared’s Real Food and Steven Cornett of Nature’s Always Right in San Diego this upcoming February. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in Southern California?
We chose these farms for their innovative practices in small-scale no-till farming and near universal applicability—these are events where aspiring and experienced growers can learn a method of farming that would be, at least on some level, able to be replicated almost wherever. Which is why our emphasis is on regional events, not national conferences (though we love conference season, too), where most of the techniques are still relevant to the environmental context.
Our great epiphany has been that we have the demo farms, and just like most of the regenerative farming information, they’re scattered across the world. We just need the demos.
So, let us know if there is an under-served region, or a farm you would like to see in action. We are hoping to do four for the 2020 year. two will take place here in KY, but let us know where else you’d like to see these demos. Anywhere. Nothing is set in stone and we may be down for doing some international work next year.
Ps. For Frith Farm at Rough Draft folks, check the thread from Hannah Crabtree about our little ones.