What on earth does “Low Carbon Farm” mean?

In the near future our food will be produced locally by a sustainable agriculture that adapts to climate change and rising fuel costs. Either that, or we all go hungry.

It’s a stark fact that’s increasingly evident to consumers, policy makers, environmental campaigners and enlightened farmers. The jargon, “low carbon”, and “locally grown” sounds cosy and wholesome, but what is the reality for farmers that want to meet this need?

My aim is to reduce the Oak Tree’s carbon footprint at every point in the production and delivery of produce. Some fertilizer I will grow on site, last year I met Iain Tolhust who wrote “Growing Green”, which convinced me it can be done, with occasional deliveries of woodchip to the farm. The rest I will get in from very locally, for example the pony paddock next door or the council delivering woodchips to me rather than the depot because it saves them money on diesel.

The equipment will be small scale; the only powered equipment planned is a two wheeled tractor and a chainsaw.

Delivery will be by bicycle trailer, and when I can afford it, a cargo trike.

We’ll have an online ordering system which will enable people to order their choice of veg for delivery the same day – but only within cycling distance!

I’m talking to a helpful lady at Sustain about setting up a local food coop/farmers’ market, and I also plan to sell at the local Ripple Food Coop and my local Country Market.

I’ll combine the “Growing Green” techniques with Elliot Coleman’s “The New Organic Gardener” book’s technique for a small scale veg growing business, alongside 2 hectares of woodland for fuel (a long term project, but we need to start growing wood now for future fuel wood demand) and agroforestry. Martin Crawford is the expert so I’ll just give you a link to his site www.agroforestry.co.uk he is a truly amazing guy whose work is now starting to be properly recognized.

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