Keeping our Balance: Diversified Farming with Steep Hills and Off-Farm Jobs
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Starting a farm business can seem like an uphill climb when balancing time between family, off-farm jobs, and the many hats that farmers wear to get product to customers. When the farm also includes high steep hillsides, shallow topsoil, and rocky terrain, the climb becomes a challenge! Focusing on their local community, driven by strong values, and working hard with the limited time and resources they do have allows Holly and James Robinson to keep their farm business growing and thriving after nearly a decade on Hallow Springs Farm. Building their soil, infrastructure, customer base, and skills along the way, these Rockcastle County co-farmers steward a diversified farm that currently includes:
* Half-acre of vegetable and herb production
* A 30’ x 96’ high tunnel (first season!)
* A consistent, healthy crop of Nugget and Chinook hops
* DIY greenhouse made from repurposed materials
* Herd of 20 Angus and Hereford cattle in rotational pastures
* Herd of mixed milk and meat goats bred for resistance to parasites and size for marketing
* Value-added production of goat’s milk soap, breads, jams and jellies
Using organic practices, natural mulches, and cover crops, they continue to rebuild the shallow soils depleted from years of tobacco farming and logging. Integrating pasture rotations through six sections of their 90 acres of grazing lands, they're restoring the fertility and vitality to their hillsides.
Join the conversation with Holly and James to see and hear how they’re bringing their family farm back to life! They will also share their success in bringing a permanent farmers market structure to Rockcastle County and Holly’s experiences working as an Organic Inspector.
This Field Day is open to any interested farmer, aspiring farmer or agriculture professional. Registration is required. Funding for this Field Day is made possible by Grow Appalachia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture.