Project/Farm care schedule

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Project steward

Shannon Cowan


The EcoReality Farm and Garden needs a Plan and Schedule expressed as an annual cycle with actions and tasks at appropriate times


The project is to create a process which will achieve a logical, up-to-date documentation of EcoReality's Farm planning and achievements on an annual calendar. As part of a permaculture design for the EcoReality ecosystem and inhabitants, the ongoing involvement of community members and residents in the planning process is critical. It will optimize the knowledge held by the community, rather than simply by one individual who might make a plan and oversee it's completion. In this way, the outcome of this project is intended to create not only a list of tasks, but to document the observations and learnings that come from caring for the land - in a holistic methodology that incorporates many "minds" that work it.

The EcoReality "Farm" is currently, as of August 2008, primarily planted in hay, with woodlots, streams, a pond near the road and a fenced garden area that is approx 20 m X 20 m. Carol is stewarding the fenced garden until end of 2008 summer season, at which point this space will transition to EcoReality market garden, or become a kitchen garden for some residents if newly fenced EcoReality market garden space is created.


This 'Farm Care Schedule' is intended to create a design and management plan for the entire 'Farm' - including those areas mentioned above.

  1. The first step is to conduct a brainstorming session with all members and residents who wish to participate.
    1. determining the separate Ecoreality farm schedule categories or areas that have somewhat individual needs - even though they are interconnected in the whole system of the 'Farm'
    2. determining one major goal for each 'Farm' area in terms of sustainable production and/or maintenance
    3. determining a list of structures and/or functions that will achieve the goal in each category or area of the 'Farm'
    4. creating a list of important activities and tasks, resources and needs that will ensure the structures and/or functions are met
    5. determining the length of time during which those activities/tasks/resources/needs will be accomplished
    6. Review of the Care Schedule is to occur every year in January.

For example,

  1. Soil and Nutrient Management; (others may include: Weed, Pest and Disease Management; Plant Identification and Seed/Growth Management; Harvesting; Post-harvest processing and Storage; Marketing; Handling/Shipping; etc.)
  2. What task: Soil and Nutrient Management - i) Dig Soil Test sites in stratified random pattern ii) Conduct shake test in Mason Jar to determine approx % clay/sand/loam, do pH meter test, record biological and organoleptic observations iii) Spread straw/newspaper/wood chips as mulch, weed control, temperature and moisture control in arid, hot summer growth period.
  3. When: i) and ii) August 2008. iii) Twice annually between March-May and Sept-Nov.

These data will all be visually expressed in the form of a large Schedule organized by Category Area of the Farm in Rows and Activities (by Goal and Function) in Columns. Such a spreadsheet should allow any member, resident, advisor, visitor or WWOOFer to access and understand the 'Care Schedule' of management activities that need to be undertaken to achieve goals in each area, and the Farm as a whole.

Long term action items that need to be on a list in the future, but are not part of the weekly to do list/tasks in farm meetings are listed here, for EcoReality members to check frequently and add items there when they do not fit into immediate farm action needs, yet will do well to be completed in near or distant futures: Farm task list.Shan 21:19, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Financial budget

Tools for doing the Farm Care Schedule include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Dry erase board, pens, flipchart, paper, Co-Op hours for one or more members to input all the final data into a spreadsheet (Gantt chart format possibly) that is accessible digitally, and is also printed into a large wall-size format hard copy for posting and reference on a day-to-day basis at EcoReality.
  1. No cash costs are expected for the tools required, except perhaps the need for large printout paper - which could be purchased from Bytesmiths by EcoReality - estimated cost $10/yr max (?)

Shan 21:48, 7 December 2007 (PST)

Labor budget

All members and residents who wish to participate and give their voice and observations of the goals they see for certain plots, slopes, vegetation, animals and waterways; the goals for each area of the whole Farm, and at what time care needs to be undertaken to achieve goals.

  • All for Annual planning time: 10 hours
  • One member (not necessarily the Farm Steward) to do Farm Care Schedule design and incorporation of brainstorming ideas--Gantt Chart creation (first time): 20 hours
  • One member: Updating 'Schedule' throughout seasons using garden log and other recorded timelogs, financial records and Farm -based records or journals: 5 hours monthly
  • All residents - keeping garden log information up to date and reviewing changes or updates made by others to the 'Schedule': 1/2 hr monthly

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