Small Farms are the wave of the present and the future. You have probably noticed that you can’t get very far off the main highway in any rural area before you see signs for small, sustainable organic farms. There is a wave of people who are headed back to the farm for various reasons—
- to escape the Rat Race
- to do something tangible and real
- to get out of the traffic and the lights of the city
- to give their children a healthier place to grow up
- to get back to their roots
- because their Inner Rancher has finally broken free…
They raise specialty produce to sell locally to restaurants and farmer’s markets. They till their own soil, plant their own seeds, live on the land, and are content with making a comfortable living. They realize that in farming, they already “have it all”.
Aside from orchards and vegetables, small farmers often have livestock of one kind or another, and I would like to make the argument that the Alpaca is the ideal livestock for the small, sustainable farm.
- Alpacas are about as Green as an animal can be! They
- don’t churn up the turf or the sod with their padded feet
- nibble grass rather than pulling it up by the roots
- are neat and clean about where they deposit their manure
- don’t require slaughter to produce a viable product
- make very efficient use of their food, leaving manure that is low in nitrogen and greenhouse gases
- create extremely rich and “cool” fertilizer
- produce a luxury fleece that does not require harsh chemicals and hot water to process
- are gentle and easy to handle.
Rotating crops with fallow fields and alpaca pasture would help the soil maintain its richness, making everything work well together.
|(Thanks to http://s3.freefoto.com/images/07/09/07_09_4_prev.jpg)|
If one were to design a small farm from scratch, it could include
- produce to sell locally
- chickens to provide eggs, pest control, fertilizer and meat
- composting to recycle by-products into fertilizer
- alpacas to fertilize the land and produce fleece
- tree fruit
- farm-made food products such as jam or apple butter
- home-made products using alpaca fleece and other natural fibers.
Here are some resources that might inspire you, give you ideas and connect you with your Inner Farmer/Rancher.
California Small Farm Conference-- http://www.californiafarmconference.com
Farms Reach-- http://www.farmsreach.com/welcome/
Give it some thought. It might just be what you have been trying to do all your life. It took me 50 years, but I got here, and I’ve never been happier!
7660 Bradley Rd. Somis, CA 93066 ~ (805) 907-5162