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Whole Farm Planning

History & Mission

Independence FUNie Farm, Home of LSUHS – a raw landscape on which to design a sustainable, environmentally wise farm!

We operated a beginning sheep & goat farm in Orange/Culpeper as well as a productive homestead for over 5 years. In January of 2018, we moved our operations to a 40 acre parcel in Charles City County last year with a twofold goal:

  1. To re-establish our farm in RVA to serve as a base for an alternative, farm-based school program.
  2. To design & establish sustainable conservation and stewardship practices into our operations as well as generate fruit and produce using sustainable permaculture methodology.

We primarily have sheep and market goats, some dairy goats, horses, hogs, poultry, and rabbits. We intend to expand our operations to include produce, fruits & berries, and nuts in permaculture beds, aquaponics, hoop house and more. First, we need to get some animal systems in place.

The Property

Architectural topographic models like this one (https://thearchitectstake.com/work-news/why-we-still-build-models/) illustrate how ecological relationships between our activities and land.

This property has a pond, springs, a stream and a wetland area. There are no animal systems in place. There is a barn with an attached large large chicken coop, but the barn is at the bottom of a steep grade in an area that collects water run off. It turns out to be a very poor location for the livestock shelter.

The land mostly presents a clean slate with which to completely design a sustainable farm. Our plan is to work with local organizations such as Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach (VSU SFO), National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the local Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) to develop a plan for the farm that allows biological, sustainable farming and protects the watersheds.

Mixing youth, newbies and experienced professionals

Both LSUHS and local high school homeschool students are invited to participate in the design/planning process. Students will gain  invaluable insight and experience while designing a farm from scratch with a mind towards conservation and sustainability.

We will begin this process by creating a topographical model of the farm and using that along with topographical charts to design the whole set up. This initial activity will be presented as a topo model and planning “workshop” here on our farm for our high school students as well as farmers who may be interested in the process.  Folks experienced in this type of planning will be invited to work with us and get us off on the right foot.

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