In the dead of winter, inspired by the design of a local permaculture landscape designer, Daniel Halsey, a fantastic plan has emerged for a round garden. Not content with the tried and true and somewhat boring rectangular garden, I envision a round garden consisting of 12 'keyhole' beds for vegetables, surrounded by 16 trapezoidal beds for perennials and vining plants, and in the center, 6 keyhole beds for fruits and herbs.
It is a crazy plan. It is also a plan that there is little to no chance we can actually pull off, by ourselves. (Hint: this is where you come in.)
Last summer, we wildly undertook an almost unbelievably insane plan. Pulled up stakes with five children in tow, and took our not meager possessions (at least not meager in quantity, though of questionable quality) from our three story house and moved to Claret Farm, where we would undertake to care for not just one house, but a house, Visitors Center, barn, sheds, chicken coop, orchard, 14 acres and an enormous book shop and warehouse. With the amazing unforeseen help of our family and friends, old and new, we also moved the massive book empire known as Loome Booksellers, a 'process' that took months of sustained daily effort. Now that we have finally truly settled here (hopefully once and for all!) we are turning our thoughts to growing food, not just for us, but for our community.
In the words of Paul Keene, in Fear Not to Sow because of the Birds:
As Walnut Acres grew through our attempt to cooperate with nature and lean upon it, we found that thousands of individuals and families everywhere came to lean upon us for a portion of their sustenance. This priceless burden of trust calls us to ever higher standards. To deal justly with the holy earth, with our foods, with the persons who work so hard to grow and prepare them, and with those whose lives depend in part upon us, is much more costly than producing food in the cheapest way.
While not aiming to produce food for thousands (!), we do hope to gather together a smaller group who wish to grow food justly, those who rely on soil that is not their own, in order to put healthy food on their tables. While we truly believe we are living as kings and queens, princes and princesses on this blessed patch of earth we call Claret Farm, we sadly lack a royal treasury. As I hinted before, this is where you come in. In order to build the Claret Farm Market and Community Garden pictured above, we need help. We need a greenhouse (nothing elaborate, just a warm place where our baby seedlings stand a chance of survival in the midst of a Minnesota winter). We need some special soil in which to grow our seedlings and with which to build our beds. We need a way to protect our plants from the very agile deer and other critters that love to roam our land. We will also need physical help (brawn) to build and tend the garden. (One of the reasons for the round garden and keyhole shape of the beds is so that many gardeners can work alongside each other and chat while working!) So in the very real prospect of utter defeat, we are asking you good citizens to take a leap of faith with us to drop seeds into the earth and pray for God's good bounty to return a "hundredfold".
Become a Member of Claret Farm!!
If you wish to become a member of Claret Farm and help us get started growing chemical-free vegetables, herbs, and fruit, please fill out a membership form. We will keep records of your donations, and these will be your "store credit" at our brand new Farm Stand. Starting Saturdays in April, you are welcome to come out to the farm and visit our new "country store" and take home our farm-fresh eggs and any organically raised seedlings or produce you like! If you donate before the season starts, you can use your store credit to purchase the equivalent value!--though you are also welcome to wait and purchase directly. And if just tasting our food isn't enough, and you have materials or labor to donate, contact us.
Fear not to sow, because of the birds!!
2013 Claret Farm Wish List
To start our seedlings:
To build the Market Garden:
Q. Is Claret Farm a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm?
A. Not exactly. Instead of a set amount that each member pays for a "share" of the produce, as in a CSA, each Claret Farm Member can choose the amount that he or she wishes to donate and will receive the equivalent value in whatever eggs, seedlings, veggies, herbs or fruit you prefer in return.