Many Changes? Farming as Usual

May 7, 2024

A refrain we hear quite a bit lately is, “There are many changes on the farm!” It is an interesting comment for a farmer to hear.

Every year is so vastly different than the one before. Sometimes this is due to changes that you make as a farmer, selecting new crops that you think will perform or taste better, or purchasing a new piece of equipment that will allow you to become more efficient. Oftentimes though, in the spring, we think that the farm season will be largely very similar to the past – that is, no big changes planned — and then, Mother Nature tells us otherwise.

Last year was a case in point. Last year, our farm crew was partially new, our pickup locations had changed, our farm stand was evolving, and spring was moving along until a March microburst flattened our six tunnel structures. This disaster left us weeks behind in planting, requiring huge amounts of creative thinking, replanning, fundraising, repurchasing, a huge physical mess and the feeling that the season was going to be a long one.

seasonal team

Anacleto, Cleto, Miguel and David planting together.

Last year, Liberty Prairie and Prairie Wind Family Farm also joined forces under the name Liberty Prairie. We did this to grow our shared impact further than we could as individual organizations. Despite the changes in our farm organization, there’s much that’s the same.

Our farming family is still living on the same beautiful farm, farming the same rich soils, working under the same bright sunshine with our same trusty farm crew members, working towards the same goals we’ve always had — growing flavorful, nutrient-filled food for our community (many of which are longtime CSA members!). Now, the change — we have 5 sheep, 4 goats and 17 chickens keeping a close eye on us!

These animals were brought on the farm for a variety of purposes. For one, Jeff’s is educating students about engineering a more sustainable future and that future includes animals as a part of the land management solution. Jeff’s lessons on animal husbandry are brought to life as the students spend quality time observing the animals’ instincts and abilities, working side-by-side with Jeff on fencing and discussing as a class the role animals can play in building soils.

This is the second purpose of animals, which is use animals to help us better manage the land and steward soil health. We’re in the second year of our strategic land plan, in which we are incorporating new areas of stewardship. This spring, we’ll be a part of the Savannah Institute’s Spring Cohort to develop a detailed vision and management plan for perennial hedgerow agriculture areas throughout the farm.

Fixing the washing water well (again!)

Like every year, the season is filled with visions, goals, ideas and strategies to do better. Like every year, we’ll get thrown weather curveballs. We’ll see pest and disease pressures on our crops. We’ll fix broken well lines. We’ll work long hours outside…perhaps amidst a lot of cicadas!

Filming with our friends from La Gonzalez and Drippin’ Culture

Like every year, we’ll also gather together at the farm, share and exchange stories and recipes with our customers and neighbors, and give back more than we take from the land. Like every year, we will adapt as needed.

While much changes, Liberty Prairie’s commitment to community and the land remains steadfast. Thank you for your steadfast support.