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Www.farmagain.com Organic Farming With A Disability Andy and Hilda Byrd Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.farmagain.com Organic Farming With A Disability Andy and Hilda Byrd Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm."— Presentation transcript:

1 Organic Farming With A Disability Andy and Hilda Byrd Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm

2 Overview Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm AgrAbility in GA Organic Farming Overview of our farm Our involvement with the AgrAbility in GA Program What is organic farming, advantages for someone with a disability, how to start an organic farm

3 Who we are Andy Byrd Co-Owner of Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm Grew up in familys grocery business – Byrds Grocery Have always been interested in farming Hilda Byrd Co-Owner of Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm Youngest of 9 who grew up in a farming family. What we did not grow, we bought at Byrds Grocery. Peer Support Coordinator for AgrAbility in Georgia

4 Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm We bought the farm in November of 1997 in Walnut Grove, GA. It was overgrown and upon clearing it, we found crops that the previous owner had planted in the 80s. We started with a pick your own blueberry operation in In 2002 we certified 10 acres and started an organic fruit/vegetable production. Started a community supported agriculture 2006.

5 Around the farm As the farm started developing, I decided to layout the vegetable area in 4x4 beds with a 2 foot walkway in between the rows. In order for me to roll between the rows to observe the crops, I made a 3 foot walkway between every third row. The soil in the walkways in put onto the rows forming the raised bed.

6 Animals

7 Greenhouse

8 Agritourism

9 Local Farmers Markets Decatur Farmers Market Wednesday 4-7pm Morningside Farmers Market Saturday 8-11:30 am

10 Restaurants

11 Special Events

12 Overview AgrAbility in GA Our involvement with the AgrAbility in GA Program

13 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance Assistance to help others visualize expansion ideas for the farm Develop a realistic business plan to achieve growth expansion Ability to do chores independently on the farm (including administrative work) Small Organic Farm Looking to Grow

14 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance AgrAbility in GA Staff assists with initial sketches Assistance to help others visualize expansion ideas for the farm

15 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance Assistance to help others visualize expansion ideas for the farm Student selects farm as senior project. Creates master design for the farm

16 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance Develop a feasible business plan to achieve future growth expansion Begins process of putting ideas into a business plan. Starts determining cost of future plans and prioritizes projects. Works with AgrAbility Staff and UGAs Small Business Development Center.

17 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance Ability to do chores independently on the farm Receives training from Tech-Able (non-profit agency specializing in assistive technology in Conyers, GA) on using Dragon Dictate. Enables Andy to answer s for farm website and do some bookkeeping.

18 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance Ability to do chores independently on the farm Students at UGA and Community members volunteer to build and decorate raised flower beds. Beds are placed at a height for the Andys wheelchair.

19 Organic Farm in GA Technical Assistance Ability to do chores independently on the farm Coit Custer from Maryland AgrAbility comes to GA to assist us. He brings equipment for Andy to test drive. Begins process with Vocational Rehabilitation. Currently working with VR on driver rehabilitation. AgrAbility in GA staff are in process of developing automated garden tools to be used for pruning. AgrAbility in GA staff use a combination of small scale garden tools with a StrongArm used for fishing to enable Andy to do tasks in raised garden beds.

20 Overview Organic Farming What is organic farming, advantages for someone with a disability, how to start an organic farm

21 What is organic farming? Organic farming is growing fruits, vegetables, and other crops without relying on synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Organic animal products and free range animals are produced and raised free of hormones and antibiotics on organic land in a humane way. This does not mean that you do not feed your soil and that you cannot control weeds or pests. There are many natural ways to maintain your farm.

22 Why Eat and Grow Organic? Environmental Factors Health reasons Tastes are optimized Enjoyable, fulfilling lifestyle Providing a source of food that makes people healthier

23 Organic Production is growing 25% every year. Equipment is not as large or expensive Diversified Marketing (i.e. on the farm, local farmers markets, local restaurants, agri-tourism, internet, state, national, global) *to market as organic, certification is necessary Niche Markets (flowers, lettuces, heirloom vegetables, etc.) Value to product ratio is higher Smaller acreage is good for accessibility and management Advantages For Someone With a Disability

24 How to start organic farming Find A Mentor Find someone who already has an organic farm. Try to volunteer at a farm or job shadow an organic farmer for a period of time. Join Organic Organizations There are state and national organic organizations that have a lot of information. Most have an annual conference. Do your research Use the web, talk to others, libraries, etc. to research organics Work with a University, Extension and/or the Small Business Development Center to develop a business plan. Check feasibility of business idea and projected growth Start Small Start with something you know and love … grow from there.

25 How to start organic farming Land: The land for organic farming has to have no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers applied to it for 3 years. You will need to determine the soil types on your farm by having a soil sample taken. This will establish which amendments the soil will need. Develop a crop rotation and cover crop plan. Crops: Decide what crops you will grow and in what area of your farm. Decide what you market will be. Certified organic seeds and plants are required. Animals: Research breeds that are good grazers (heritage breeds) Set up grazing areas for rotation. Select forages Research humane processing facilities available Equipment: Assess the type of farming equipment you will need for your operation.

26 Resources Certifying Agencies (check your area) ORMI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Address: PO Box 1158 Eugene, OR Phone: website: Informative websites and magazines: Georgia Organics- Acres USA- Growing for Market- Mother Earth News-

27 Resources Seeds: Seeds of Change Address: P.O. Box Santa Fe, NM Phone: website: Peaceful Valley Address: P.O. Box 2209 Grass Valley, CA Phone: website: Johnnys Selected Seeds Address: 955 Benton Avenue Winslow, ME Phone: website:

28 Contact Information Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm 3905 Highway 138 Covington, GA AgrAbility in GA

29 Conclusion The challenges of Farming with a Disability can be overcome by team work, determination, special adaptations, and the desire to succeed!

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