Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cooperative Coop Design

As you may or may not know, Spring Valley Student Farm currently has 7 resident chickens living happily in their little coop out in the garden. Recently, though we have begun to feel that 7 chickens simply isn't enough so we have decided to get more of these fine feathered fowl.These additional birds will be kept up at the second house which now means, eggs for everyone!
In order for us to get more chickens however, there has to be a place for them to live. So a few of us farmers took the liberty of drawing up some blueprints for our new chicken coop.
The coop can either be built from scratch or modified from our existing rabbit hutch.

The design includes 6 laying boxes (3 on each side) as well as an enclosed area beneath the coop where the chickens can scratch about during the day. One feature that we thought would be very important is the wide hatch located on the front of the coop. This would make cleaning the coop and feeding and watering the hens much easier.
And hopefully the chickens will love it too.


Upcoming NOFA Conference

Howdy All!
It's hard to believe but February is almost over and March is just around the corner. We've been pretty busy at the farm getting things ready for the new planting season but we also have an exciting trip planned that is coming up soon!

March 3rd (next weekend!) we SVF farmers will be attending the 30th Annual CT Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Conference.
The conference will be held at the Manchester Community College and will have all sorts of awesome workshops on subjects from permaculture, to bee keeping, to soil management, growing mushrooms, raising pasture fed hens, and even how to brew you own organic beer (Not that we at SVF have any need for that sort of knowledge)! All in all it should prove to be an informative and interesting Saturday and hopefully we will be able to apply some of what we learn at Spring Valley.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Getting Down to Business

The semester is well underway and Spring Valley Farm is making big plans for the future.  Each of us is now busy writing up pieces of our new Constitution (Our Purpose, Responsibilities, Conflict Resolutions, Application/Admissions, Commitment to EcoHouse and Uconn, etc).  Doing so will likely eliminate the need for an R.A. next year, and we can thus add more farmers to our community with the newly available room (woo!).
We've mapped out which crops are going into which plot and now all that's left to do is to get all our seeds and plant! (when it warms up of course).  We're also ready to install a brand new Hoop House to grow some of our crops earlier.  Birch Cottage has also gotten approval to get their own chickens and coop; we're planning on making quite a chicken mansion.  With the addition of our huge newly plowed back plot and the plot behind Birch Cottage, we're going to have an intense growing season!
The party we had last week was a great success and we had a surprisingly impressive turnout!  We're planning on regularly hosting more of these parties from now on (two or more each semester).  Our next get-together is tentatively set for March 17th; hopefully this time the weather will permit us to do some fun outdoor activities (contra dancing anyone?) and we'll be able to make it more of a potluck with the addition of more homemade food.                                          
                                       Veggies, Sweet Potato Fries, Garlic Bread, and Cookies, Yum!

Some wholesome after-dinner games: Bananagrams and Spoons! What better way to spend a cold Saturday Night?


Sunday, February 5, 2012

We the People....

We the farmers here at Spring Valley Student Farm (student title was inserted because apparently there exists a Spring Valley Farm in CT already (Hi other SVF)), are attending to business with farm protocol (seed ordering and what not) but also are looking to set in place a constitution in order to sustain our community and help it develop. Upon meeting with Steve Kremer, director of ResLife, the other day and eating some delicious pizza, we decided to establish a plan and some type of documentation to maintain the community. Incorporating a constitution will also allow us to really determine what our mission is here and how we will go about achieving it. The meeting also laid out a loose plan for what's going to happen in the summer, basically going over the fact that three main farmers will be given positions to do a majority of the tasks and others who live there can help out as sharecroppers part time. Overall it was a rather productive meeting and the upcoming weeks will be very promising in terms of progress for SVSF.
Steve Kremer
The constitution that is going to be worked on by the community's members will delve into all aspects of a community including attending to tasks on the farm, resolving conflicts, and even making amendments and allowing for the system to be dynamic enough to change for the better if needed.
On a more fun note, we held a dinner party on Saturday night where many Ecohousers and some non-Ecohousers were in attendance. Games and festivities were conducted and it was wonderful.