WHAT IS HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT?
Holistic management in agriculture is a systems thinking approach to managing resources. It restores the land by recreating the way animals evolved to interact with their environment. This approach was developed and popularized by ecologist, farmer and environmentalist, Allan Savory.
BECAUSE HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT RESTORES THE SOIL ECOSYSTEM NATURALLY, WITHOUT THE NEED FOR CHEMICAL TREATMENTS, IT OFFERS LONG-LASTING BENEFITS:
INTEGRATING OUR ANIMALS WITH THE ECOSYSTEM
Nowhere in nature will you find an ecosystem of only one species of animal consuming only one source of food! It simply doesn’t happen: instead, you’ll find a wide variety of species with symbiotic relationships. And that’s how it is here: our cows, sheep, pigs and chickens interact with the land, the plants, the bugs, other animals – and each other – in unique ways, just as they would in the wild
Chickens play a double role in our farm ecosystem: they clean up the pastures and intensively fertilize them wherever they go.
Our chickens are raised in a brooder for the first few weeks because they are highly temperature sensitive when they are young. But when they are ready, they move out to pasture in portable housing that is frequently moved, following after the cows and sheep. The chickens eat fly larvae and other bugs along with the pasture grasses, and we supplement their diet with local grain and fruit/vegetable waste.
Chicken manure is very high in nitrogen, and after they’ve gone through a pasture, the land is so heavily fertilized that you can easily see the difference when you are walking by (or even in an aerial photo!). The plants are so lush and green that the rest of the farm looks drab by comparison!
Our pigs also have a unique job here: cleaning up after the cows, sheep, and people!
It starts in the spring: rather than housing our cows and sheep in a barn through the winter, we give them shelters bedded down with plenty of straw and feed them hay. These packs of leftover hay, straw and manure can get pretty huge by springtime and we would normally use a tractor or Bobcat to come in and clean up the mess.
Instead, we send in the pigs! They have a grand old time, digging and rooting through the piles, eating the hay and straw and turning it into rich compost, which eventually ends up fertilizing our garden or (if we ever get enough of it) our pastures.
For the rest of the year, they gobble up our fruit and vegetable trimmings along with the greens, vegetables and legumes they forage in the pastures, supplemented with a grain mix we grow and mill on farm.
BOTTOM LINE? OUR BUSINESS IS BUILT ON THE WEB OF LIFE.
We’re super excited to be getting back to the old-fashioned way of farming, where all of the animals played a role in sustaining each other and the land, as well as the people. The old-time farmers knew about those relationships and used them for millennia, but modern-day practices of specialized industrial farming have gotten away from that natural symbiosis and the results are evident around the world.
Our own experience, and emerging science, is bearing out what the old farmers knew: when plants and animals are given a habitat that is appropriate for them, they will flourish naturally… and the land, water, and climate will flourish as well. We’re committed to helping create that future on Farm One Forty, and we hope you’ll come to experience it!