Back to Nature and Organic
A key objective when taking over the farm in 2012 was for the animals eat as they did 100 years ago, and for thousands of years prior. They forage in the woods, and are fed organic grain that does not contain corn or soy. They enjoy room to run and exercise. The pigs give birth in simple dwellings, and although each piglet translates to money on a farm, more perish due to natural causes than is typical in a traditional hog farm where sows are penned up for weeks, unable to move as they nurse their young through a grate. All of the livestock on Frohloff farm are certified by the U.S.D.A as organic.
According to Wikipedia, “Sustainable agriculture is the act of farming based on an understanding of ecosystem services, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices, having a site-specific application that will last over the long term”, for example:
- Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
- Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.
- Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources, and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.
- Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
- Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
Farms, food, our land and natural resources are constantly being depleted. As technological, biological and medical sciences advance, we are getting farther away from the source of our food, and having an understanding and appreciation for it. The East Quabbin Land Trust is an organization that works to foster the sustainable use of our natural and historical resources, for the benefit of all generations, through the conservation and stewardship of the farmlands, woodlands, and waters in our region of Mass. The Frohloff farm was built about 1810, and for a period exceeding two hundred and seventy-five years, the property changed hands more than fifteen times and yet, the only family to own the farm through multiple generations was the Frohloff family. It was lived in by three generations for nearly one hundred years, from 1913 until 2007.
The property was uninhabited, and the land had gone fallow after decades of neglect. The property was on the market and could have been purchased for the purpose of subdivision and property development. Due to following conservation criterion, EQLT made the decision to purchase the property in 2010:
- The land is at the southern end of the Dougal Range, a wildlife and recreation focus area;
- The property abuts the Lincoln property (175 acres) to the north that is conserved with a conservation restriction (held by EQLT) and an Agricultural Preservation Restriction;
- The property includes frontage along the Ware River, which is designated as priority habitat by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program;
- The land encompasses a large portion of the Zone 2 watershed for the Town of Ware’s Dismal Swamp well head, which supplies approximately 25% of the Towns water daily;
- The property includes a quarter mile section of the rail bed for the Mass Central Rail Trail;
- Over twenty acres of abandoned farmland will be rejuvenated with assistance from local farmers and the community to provide local food; and
- Conservation of the farm will maintain the rural character of Church Street, a major entrance-way to the Town of Ware.
Taking over the Frohloff farm in partnership with EQLT provided the perfect opportunity to preserve and use the land in a sustainable way, and provide a working farm that is accessible to the community. Events and workshops are held on the property several times a year. They focus on natural farming practices, food and nutrition, land conservation and sustainable practices.
Feeding bins containing organic foods appropriate for the livestock are situated along the fence on Church Street. This will give the folks that stop to look at the livestock a chance to feed and interact with the animals without compromising the U.S.D.A Organic certification.
Please come visit us, either at the farm or at the markets.