This month I am taking a short break in my blog series “On-Farm Variety Trials” to share thoughts inspired by my weekend excursion to the Perennial Farm Gathering in Madison, Wisconsin.
Some call it permaculture, some call it woody perennial polyculture, some call it growing a grove! I call it inspiration! The Perennial Farm Gathering is an annual event for growers, enthusiasts, and activist who share a passion for perennializing the food system. The gathering is hosted by the Savanna Institute, a non-profit and friend of The Land Connection, who are working to develop paths for the planting, growth, and sale of perennial crops like chestnuts, hazelnuts, currents, and blackberries. Their ultimate goal is to convert much of midwestern american agriculture from annual monocrop corn/soybean rotation into perennial, highly diverse chestnut/hazelnut production. According to their co-founder Kevin Wolz, chestnuts are a high starch analogue of corn and hazelnuts are a high protein analogue of soybeans, perfect perennial replacements for the current cropping system!
Image credit: Savanna Institute
Pooling of water, soil erosion, nutrient leaching, collapse of insect populations, contamination of groundwater, loss of soil organic matter, burning of fossil fuels for pass after pass of equipment over the field, wildlife habitat loss, stream bank collapse, bare soil, brown views… all vanished, replaced by abundant biology, abundant life, regeneration. This is my dream. A dream of deep connection between humanity and our ecosystem.
We humans are in a relationship with nature, whether we acknowledge it or not, and relationships are based on reciprocity. How will you give back to nature all that she has provided you?
When I was young,
A dream of sweet illusion,
A glimpse of hope and unity,
And visions of one sweet union,
But a cold wind blows,
And a dark rain falls,
And in my heart it shows,
Look what they’ve done to my dream.”
– “One Vision”, Queen