Held at The Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, New York.
What can wild nature do for food production and how can food production help wild nature?
Managing farms with biodiversity and the health of ecosystems in mind will require a variety of perspectives and approaches. What can farms offer to biodiversity conservation efforts and what might wild organisms provide in terms of “services” to the production of crops?
I attended this educational event and came away with a deeper understanding of the interconnections between agriculture and ecology.
The following is a sample of what I learned:
-Create hedgerows along the road and in between fields, as they provide shelter for insects, habitat for small animals, and a safe highway for them to circulate.
-Increase the availability of native wildflowers as they support the most beneficial insects.
-When planting a native wildflower meadow, we have to be patient with the flowers: the first year, the flowers seem to sleep, the second year, they start to creep and the third year, they leap.
-Create beetle banks, which is a form of biological pest control. It’s a strip planted with grasses (bunch grasses) and/or perennial plants, within a crop field or a garden, that fosters and provides habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and other fauna that prey on pests.
-Insects need places to pass the long dark winter, and one of their favorite places to be is in a rocky edge or loose pile of rocks.
-Order seeds from Ernst Seeds , a trusted source for native and naturalized seeds for ecological restoration.
-Read book Garden Revolution by Larry Weaner
-Learn about The New England Food Vision , which describes a future in which our regional food system supports healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.
-A group of biologists are studying antibiotic pollution in the soil and water and which plants or bacteria can successfully remove them.
*The event featured researchers working with the Applied Farmscape Ecology Research Collaborative. The collaborative is a project of the Applied Farmscape Ecology Program at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, which is co-ordinated by the Farm Hub and the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program.