Hart’s Mill Farm & Forest

We view all of the Hart’s Mill land as an integrated ecological system with opportunitiesIMG_6170 for producing food and materials throughout. These will range from kitchen gardens, community gardens, and a greenhouse &/or hoop house, to pasture, orchard, and row crops, to forest-grown mushrooms & medicinal plants and selective timber harvesting. Even our street trees and buffer landscaping will incorporate food-producing plants.

The mission statement for the Hart’s Mill Farm & Forest is to:

Establish and nurture an integrated agrarian system which sustains and is sustained by the  Hart’s Mill community, restores and protects the land, and provides learning experiences.

Our aims are to:

  • provide a substantial portion of the food, and some wood and fiber, for the Hart’s Mill community through practices that are restorative to the land
  • generate income from land-based products and services to support operations
  • create and maintain the physical infrastructure necessary for operations
  • share our experience and evolving knowledge with others
  • promote fellowship around shared enterprises on the land

Storm over the pondWe are currently developing operational and financial plans for the farm and forest with the assistance of knowledgeable professionals who share our values. While the details are not yet available, we can provide a general overview.

Farm and forest operations will be guided by the Hart’s Mill community based on adopted principles and practices. These will be drawn from approaches which are restorative to the land, mimic natural ecosystems, and have low impact in terms of factors such as carbon, synthetic chemicals, erosion and pollution.

Production will be small-scale, mixed, appropriate to our soil and climate, Randy and Carol in the gardenand based on the carrying capacity of the land. This will include annual and perennial crops (herbs, greens, vegetables), fruit-producing shrubs and vines, fruit and nut trees, pasture-raised small animals (chickens, sheep, goats, etc.), honeybees, and forest-grown mushrooms and herbs.

Specifically excluded will be industrial-scale operations and other activities that could present nuisance or public health concerns, negative traffic/road impacts, or generate excessive air, water, noise or aesthetic pollution.Paul picking lettuce

We will not be able to provide all of the food needed by Hart’s Mill residents, but do anticipate producing most of our own herbs, greens, vegetables and eggs. Any production for off-site sale will be carefully balanced with the needs of the community for both revenue and food.

IMG_4957-300x225Hart’s Mill will develop and own all permanent farm infrastructure, such as barns, sheds, wells, permanent fencing, solar panels, etc. In some cases, infrastructure may be built or financed in partnership with others, but Hart’s Mill will retain long-term ownership.

Potato plantingDay-to-day management will be handled by one or more professional farmers, who we hope will also be full member-residents of Hart’s Mill. It is expected that many residents will be actively involved in farming and timber maintenance activities on the land, and that we will host interns who will contribute labor. There are a variety of legal and financial models which may be utilized to define these relationships as needed.

Building the tracktor shedHart’s Mill is committed to learning, experimentation, and demonstration related to ecological farming and forest systems. To that end, we expect to continuously educate ourselves, test promising new approaches on a small scale, be open to research partnerships, and share our journey in various ways, such as making internship opportunities available, holding small public tours and workshops, and publishing on our website.