Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fair Share Farm Awarded SARE Grant

After applying for a grant and waiting 4 months it is nice to open a letter that begins with the word "Congratulations!" So your CSA farmers will begin work on our project (deep breath) "Cover Crop-based Reduced Tillage for Fall Production of Cabbage, Cauliflower and Broccoli Using a Roller-Crimper and No-Till Planting Aid."

The grant will help us pay for the equipment necessary to implement this farming system, as well as provide funds for consultation by reduced tillage expert Dr. Ron Morse of Virginia Tech University. And as SARE (a USDA funded program) stands for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education it will also fund us to provide farm tours and outreach so that other farmers can benefit from our demonstration of these techniques.

As the year progresses we will keep you up to date. Our first step is to build the no-till planting aid, or NTPA. We have disassembled an old two-bottom plow and are working on re-assembling it into the NTPA with Ron's help. There are still a few missing parts which we plan to purchase soon and get Step 1 completed.

Old toolbar ready to become a NTPA
Next step is to spec out and find a new tractor and grain drill, as well as purchase the roller-crimper. Meanwhile, the cover crops are waking up from their winter sleep and by May will be ready for roll down. We are looking forward to an exciting year.

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