The landscape at Earth Wisdom Farm is approximately 40 acres of rough pasture and heavily treed hillsides. We currently graze only about a quarter of the land, but are able to grow steers, goats, lambs, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and turkeys because we rotate paddocks daily and sometimes hourly. Last year goldenrod, industrial hemp, burdock, stinging nettles, and queen anne's lace were the dominant forbes. Grasses on the landscape were few and far between despite the regional ecotype having been historically savannah. Much of this was likely due to horses openly grazing the acreage for years.
In order to restore the ecosystem we are currently modeling our grazing after the ancient migrations of large ruminants that would pass through the area thousands of years ago. This ecoregion developed and evolved with those ancient herd migrations to sustain heavy grazing over short periods of time and grow back vigorously with long periods of rest. We cycle agricultural animals with varying appetites, food preferences and disturbance patterns across the pasture at different times in order to provide as many niches as possible for bugs, microbial life, birds, fungus, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. With this model we hope to create a positive feedback loop that enriches local diversity and provides more energy for farm animals to convert each year.
In the same way that we cannot sustain ourselves without a healthy landscape, we believe it is necessary for humans to play a role in the maintenance of that landscape. With historical perspective we are able to mimic historical ecological models. Savannah landscapes are extremely productive models with regards to caloric production for human consumption. We hope to return this landscape to a more savannah like ecotype. With diversity of plants, animals, soil biota, and human interaction we hope to demonstrate a "new" farm type. Specifically a farmscape that restores the land as much as it provides for human needs.