Bending Oak Farm is an educational farm committed to our mission of showing people what is possible when looking to create a more sustainable world. Through classes, workshops, school tours, community programs and hands-on experiences, we look to demonstrate attainable practices to better the lives of all people as we move to a sustainable culture. We invite you to come and experience how you can create a more sustainable life for you, your family, friends and your community.
Years in the Making of Bending Oak
Acres of land regeneration
Inches of new topsoil
Using the 12 Principles of Permaculture
These ethics and principles help to focus our efforts as we work to rehabilitate the land. Following the permaculture principle, “Use Small and Slow Solutions,” we have been careful not to overhaul the property as is often done in conventional farming. In conjunction with another principle, “Observe and Interact,” we spend ample time walking the property to see the characteristics of each area (i.e. we will ask, “what naturally grows there?” or, “how does the water move through an area and does it soak into the ground?”). We think about how we can best develop an area so we are working with nature rather than against it. We have worked hard at “integrating,” (another principle) all parts of the farm so they can benefit from one another. When we built the pond, we made sure to do so at a low point on the property so that all the runoff from a rainstorm could be captured and saved for later use. Also, when we built the barn, which is currently the hub of the property, we installed a rainwater catchment system and a solar PV system to harness the natural resources needed to function as a fully productive farm.
A Story of Healing
Bending Oak Farm has been using the principles of permaculture to bring a desecrated piece of property back to a fully functioning ecological community. When we took this land under our wing, it had gone from being a mature forest ecosystem to an empty plot that had been stripped of all its trees and plants and denuded of topsoil. By following the ethics and design principles set forth by permaculture co-founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, we are well on our way to healing the land that has become Bending Oak Farm.
As we have built the farm through this permaculture process, we have come a long way in healing the land. We have built up to 5 inches of topsoil in certain parts of the property resulting in excess carbon, the main culprit of global warming, being taken out of the air and put back into the soil allowing for healthier, more nutritious plant growth. We have discovered many plant species beneficial to both humans and animals that we have been able to regenerate and populate, such as nonpoisonous sumac, touch-me-not, black locust, maple and elderberries to name a few. The wildlife has started returning to the area as well, with increases in the varieties and numbers of such species as birds, insects, woodchucks, groundhogs, deer, frogs and foxes.