The Pursuit of Excellence
By Robert Pekel
Foundation Farm is an adventure into alternative farming. Generating 20,000 pounds of healthy, organic produce a year on a little over one half acre leaves conventional farming in the trail dust. The growing power of Foundation Farm is a blueprint for urban farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners to produce the maximum amount food with minimal land.
Patrice Gros, owner/operator of Foundation Farm, is a pioneer in winter production, supplying farmers markets, local restaurants and CSA’s (community supported agriculture) with fresh, nutritious food through out all the seasons. Harvesting during the cold months of December, January and February is made possible with high and low tunnel technology. This was my second visit to Foundation Farm with the purpose of capturing its uniqueness on film.
Foundation Farm is a well-oiled machine. Actually, there are no machines. There is no tilling. This is a low input system that requires only sixty man-hours per week to achieve his incredible production. The sixty hours are divided between four people working three, five-hour workdays a week. This is more than a farm, it is an odyssey. The helpers are much more than hired hands. They are interns with dreams of duplicating this unique system on their own land with hopes of feeding a hungry world. How do you capture that with a camera?
It was a warm, humid day in the hills of Arkansas. Patrice was busy working his teaching magic along side his interns weeding, mulching, and harvesting the multiple beds of chard, kale, green beans, garlic, and summer squash. Patrice is high energy. There is no wasted time or motion as he moves through his garden. His teachings are efficient, clear, and make sense. Foundation Farm illustrates a workable solution to feeding an overpopulated world struggling with shrinking resources and climate change with ultimate growing power.
Listen to Patrice’s own words at Farmer to Farmer podcast.
Patrice has also put together three, concise pamphlets clearly describing how to put his farming practices into action from easy to build garden beds to production planning, as well as keys to a successful winter harvest.
Patrice can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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