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In Other News...

By Matt Hansen, Phase II Fellow

There sure hasn’t been much good news recently.

When stress and worry are on the forefront of our minds, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain optimistic. Fortunately, while life has slowed to a halt in many places around the world, things continue on mostly undisturbed up at the Allegheny Farm. Despite all of the uncertainty this pandemic has brought into our lives, we find comfort in the fact that the earth continues to provide.

In light of these recent developments, here are some farm updates to distract you from the news:

We welcomed two new calves to the herd in the past couple months and are happy to see them healthy and thriving. We also created a new rotational grazing plan, mapping out paddocks so that the cows graze a new section of pasture every 2-3 days. We’re excited to put the plan into action and to see the long-term effects it will have on both soil health and forage in our pastures.

Thankfully, social distancing doesn’t apply to poultry, because they make up the vast majority of my social circle. We acquired new flocks of both layer hens and Indian Runner ducks in the fall, and recently started finding those long-awaited first eggs. We just put the ducks to work in the garden, helping us prepare our pollinator space for planting and soon, the layer hens will be running around with our cows on pasture.

Indian Runner ducks - and Dorcas, our one different duck.
These birds aren't chicks anymore!

Other things on the farm are growing up fast, too. We’re happy to see our rows of greens, beets, and carrots thriving under row cover in the High Tunnel. Flats of kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts, and onions, to name a few, are also popping up quickly in the greenhouse. In the coming weeks, we’ll continue starting even more seeds and preparing rows of outdoor beds for planting.

Baby plants in the greenhouse.
Greens under row cover in the high tunnel.

We’re looking forward to our first harvests of the season and to provide fresh food to people who need it most. To everyone who is stuck at home, out of work, or facing illness, I hope you, too, can find a sense of normalcy and predictability in this uncertain time.

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