Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Now taking applications for our Summer Apprenticeship Training Program


Our apprenticeship training program is designed to train participants in the art and science of forest ecology, and equip them with practical skills and experience in management of productive agroforestry systems as they learn from experienced foresters and farmers.


We focus on taking the time to support individual learning and skill building in this four-month experiential educational program.

“This program is a completely immersive experience into the world of agroforestry. Time spent cultivating mushrooms, learning proper chainsaw use, rotationally grazing sheep, and learning forestry principles left a profound impact on my life. I learned and grew more than I ever could have hoped.”  -- Wyatt, 2016 Participant

During the summer program, trainees live on-farm or commute to the site two days a week and learn by engaging in the production of mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, and small fruits. 

 

Apprentices also participate in all our educational programming and learn skills, including chainsaw safety and use of a scythe and other hand tools.

 

Learning on a working forest farm broadens understanding of forest farming, agroforestry, permaculture, and forest gardening systems, providing training in the technical and business skills required to run a small farm or homestead.


The Summer session runs June 1 - October 1 with work days on Mondays and Thursdays each week. End date is flexible.


Learn more: http://apprenticeship.wellspringforestfarm.com/


Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 Recap: News from the Woods


News from the Woods
a monthly digest of resources, events, and people in forestry & agroforestry


2016 in Review

Past articles and issues at: news.wellspringforestfarm.com


Rather than offer brand new content this month, we thought we would revisit the range stories we shared with you this year, in case you missed a resource we shared or want to revisit a topic that interested you.

In 2016, we offered articles on a number of topics including harvesting wild leeks, navigating the complex world of medicinal fungi, mushroom foraging tips, and the amazing ability of dried mushrooms to accumulate vitamin D from sunlight. Find links to these, and more, below.

Our goal with this newsletter, which just started this past May, is to provide useful and relevant information in the areas of farming, forestry, and agroforesry, along with updates on the offerings of Wellspring Forest Farm & School. Let us know how we are doing!

We offer this monthly through email, though you can view the newsletter at our website anytime, with a bit more flair (pretty pictures) at: news.wellspringforestfarm.com

In the coming year, we are excited to share stories on small scale logging, maple syrup (and sap) production, and of course, much more on mushrooms, as well as an exciting round of workshops and events we are currently planning.

We want to wish you and yours a safe and happy year ahead, and hope that together we can work to improve the health of the environment, the dignity of all people, and the viability of farming and homesteading for all. 

For the trees,
Steve & Elizabeth




2016 Recap


In MAY…

We talked about the properties of Ephemeral plants in the woods, including Wild Leeks, or Ramps (Allium tricoccum).  We have an article on the Farming the Woods blog about the dangers in overharvesting these amazing plants: https://farmingthewoods.com/2015/04/11/wild-leeks-welcome-us-to-spring-but-need-careful-harvesting/




Our 14-week Mushroom CSA was launched, where local residents to the Ithaca/Trumansburg/Watkins Glen areas of the finger lakes in New York can access fresh shiitake, oyster, and other mushrooms from our farm and forage from the newby woods. We are taking orders for our 2017 season, now!
csa.wellspringforestfarm.com





In JUNE…

We shared some basic tips on Wild Foraging Mushrooms in a post, which is now a free downloadable PDF article available at media.wellspringforestfarm.com

We announced our series of 3-day short courses, which will return in 2017. We cover topics such as forestry, fungi, and agroforestry, and plan to announce dates and themes for this year in late January 2017, so stay tuned!

For now, we are accepting applications for our 2017 apprenticeship training program and have also posted the dates for our Maple Weekend, March 18 & 19 
SEE: http://events.wellspringforestfarm.com/





In JULY…


Our newsletter explored the popular questions around invasive species:
http://wellspringforestfarm.blogspot.com/2016/07/july-news-from-woods-invasive-species.html








In AUGUST… SEPTEMBER… OCTOBER…

We shared about our experience with the historic drought, in an article called: “40% of New York is in Drought, What do the trees have to say?”






We released an article to help explain the complicated world of medicinal mushrooms, to help others navigate the decision making process.






And we explored the benefits of dehydrating mushrooms in the sun in an article titled, “Storing Sunlight for Winter: The Amazing Ability of Mushrooms to Accumulate Vitamin D


Get these articles FREE at http://media.wellspringforestfarm.com






Also in OCTOBER…

We announced the writing of Steve’s new book, Silvopasture, which explores the beneficial ways animals and trees can work together.

Read more at: http://silvopasturebook.com/




And in NOVEMBER…

We reflected on the common values and beliefs that our country must agree on to move forward; recommitting to the work we do as one part of the solution.  

Our ONLINE STORE opened for the season, with offerings of our products including dried shiitake, shiitake seasoning, elderberry extract, maple syrup, books, and sheep hides. Still some items left from our 2016 harvest!

store.wellspringforestfarm.com





---------------------------------------
Quote of the Month:
---------------------------------------

To cherish what remains of the Earth and

 to foster its renewal is our only legitimate
 hope of survival.

― Wendell Berry


---------------------------------------
News from the Woods” is brought to you by:


Wellspring Forest Farm & School
leaving forests in our footsteps


Steve & Elizabeth Gabriel
Mecklenburg, NY
www.WellspringForestFarm.com
farmers@wellspringforestfarm.com

Let us know what you think!

To subscribe, please visit news.wellspringforestfarm.com and simply enter your email. Or you can email stevegabrielfarmer@gmail.com with “SUBSCRIBE” as the subject line, and we will add you to the list!

To unsubscribe, please send an email with the subject “UNSUBSCRIBE ME” to stevegabrielfarmer@gmail.com



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November News from the World: An Important Message

News from the Woods World
a monthly digest of resources, events, and people in forestry & agroforestry


November 2016

View it online, as well as past issues: news.wellspringforestfarm.com

This month’s update is going to be different.  Given recent events that redefine this time in history, we must pause for a moment and take in the big picture.


No matter who you supported, or didn’t support, for the recent US election (even those of you outside the US), it is hard to deny that these events have greatly elevated many fundamental questions about beliefs and values in democracy and in people. It’s clear that people all over the world will be affected by the coming administration, its policies and priorities.

In a two party system, when there are only two sides presented, few people, if any, will find a perspective that fully matches their viewpoints. The reality is that each person on this planet carries with them a unique perspective, one that comes from their upbringing, personal experiences, and goals for living the life they desire.

We believe firmly that people have a right to their beliefs, so long as they don’t impede the freedom of others. There is no reason people need to oppress any group of people in the pursuit of their own destiny.

We denounce and refuse to support any individuals, institutions, or groups that judge or threaten the freedom of any people on the base of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

In reality, each of us is seeking to live our lives, support our families, and perhaps play a meaningful role in the world. Everyone has the right to explore life, work, and engage in hobbies and pursuits they find personally enriching.

We had planned to launch a fundraising campaign last week for the new Silvopasture book Steve is writing, however, we are postponing this effort at this time. It is a time of great uncertainty and unrest for too many. Rather than looking ahead, and asking for money, now is a time for reflection, discussion, and action in our local communities, as a nation, and as humanity.

If you are reading this, we sincerely hope you will consider how you will work to uphold the values that support peace and justice in our global society. Thinking, feeling, and reflecting must be followed by action.

Part of our reflecting has led us to doubling-down on our efforts in farming and forestry, where we demonstrate and advocate for better ways to grow the foods and medicine’s that sustain us while also supporting healthy trees, forest landscapes and ecosystems.

At the core of our farm, the books we’ve written, and the classes we teach is the notion that humanity can rebuild its broken relationship with the natural world and support its regeneration, while also providing needs for people to survive and thrive.

When Steve wrote Farming the Woods, the goal was to expand the possibilities of what one could do with their forest land and encourage farmers to see more value in their wooded lands.

The current book on Silvopasture expands this idea further, focusing on a farming system that is among the best in offering both a economic solution for rural landscapes, along with an ecology that increases a landscapes resilience to climate change. The book will bring together the stories and science to help more people adopt the practice on their farms and homesteads around the US.

In the coming months, we will be sharing snippets of this work, as we consider how silvopasture offers solutions to our broken food system, from the way we confine and feed animals processed grains, to the challenges agriculture as whole faces in a climate that is rapidly changing in unpredictable ways. Stay tuned for updates each month.

In this way, we are re-focusing and recommitting to this work as ever more important. While we also consider steps to address issues of social inequity in our lives, we are inviting your ideas about how forest farming, silvopasture, and farming relate to social justice and equity in our world. 

We welcome your thoughts and are open to constructive dialogue from all corners as we continue to work on being good humans on this good earth.


Take care of yourself, and each other.

Steve & Elizabeth



LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BOOK: www.SilvopastureBook.com

“LIKE” US ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/silvopasturebook

FARM WEBSITE: www.WellspringForestFarm.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

October News: Making Snags for Wildlife, and a BIG announcement!


News from the Woods
a monthly digest of resources, events, and people in forestry & agroforestry



October 2016




Welcome to the October news from Wellspring Forest Farm and School. Each month, we share useful information about methods for improving forest health and increasing productivity and diversity, along with the happenings of our farm and educational programs.


This month, we have BIG news. Steve is writing another book – this time on the agroforestry practice of Silvopasture, which combines trees, livestock, and pasture. Read more below, and stay tuned for a series of free articles and webinars on various aspects of farm design and management considerations.


For the trees,
Steve & Elizabeth



-------------------
In the Woods
-------------------


On Working the Woods for Ourselves, and Wildlife


As the busy season winds down, we find ourselves thinking ahead to the winter, which we have found is the best time to do cutting and clearing in the woods, for a few reasons:


1. It’s best for forest health. As the ground freezes, it protects itself from damage that machinery, foot traffic, and fallen trees can do to the soil and vegetation in the woods. Colder temperatures mean more solid ground and less mud, and sensitive forest plants are dormant and protected underground


2. It keeps us active and warm. When running a chainsaw, safety gear is a must. I can’t tell you how many close calls I’ve experienced in the woods. All that gear is heavy – and hot, if cutting in the warmer months. In winter it’s a welcome layer of protection, and nothing beats doing woods work and breaking a sweat, even on a subzero day.


3. Dormant trees are safer to cut. During the growing season, trees are much more “bendy” and easier to hang up on one another. Thick, leafy vegetation also obscures branches which if dead pose a safety hazard and if alive are easy to get caught on another tree. In winter, trees are more stiff, and one can more easily see the whole tree and calculate risk when felling.


As mentioned last month, Fall is a great time to assess and mark trees in your woodlot, while winter is the best time to cut and move them. Over the next month, make some time to walk you woods and observe which trees appear to be healthiest, and which are less so. Bring a roll of flagging tape to make trees that you can conceive cutting.


Selecting trees takes keen observation and decision making skills. It isn’t simple. One of the errors we see landowners and farmers do again and again are to look around their woods and cut standing dead trees for firewood.


This is a BAD IDEA for two reasons; one is that the firewood value is lessened, as fungi and other microbes are decomposing and consuming the lignin in the wood, and the other is that these trees, especially if over 10” in diameter, serve a much more valuble widlife function. They are apartment complexes for woodpeckers, rodents, and insects, which spread seedand fungi spores, fertilize, and support the overall health of the forest.


We call standing deadwood a “snag.” Snags offer a home and food source for many of the forest critters who are critical to enhancing forest health. It is recommended that one maintains 5 – 10 good snags per acre in their woods. Of course, it is wise to remove snags if they are in a place that could cause damage to people or equipment, such as along roads or trails.


READ MORE ABOUT SNAGS: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=fsbdev2_026701


Source: ecofarming.org
If you don’t have an abundance of snags, you can create them by girdling trees. This simple practice requires just a hand saw, axe and some time in the woods, and can greatly improve biodiversity in your woodlot. Simply select a tree you want to girdle and cut two rings around the circumference 1 – 2” deep in two rings about 4” apart. With the axe, remove the outer and inner back between the two lines you cut, to ensure the tree dies slowly over time. 
 

Trees that are softer and that decay easier make the best ones for widlife, as woodpeckers and insects and easily get into the wood. Some species to favor include basswood, poplar, pines, and red maples among others. Girdled trees can take anywhere from a few years to a few decades to fall over.
 


------------------
On the Farm
------------------



ANNOUNCING A NEW BOOK:


SILVOPASTURE: Integrating Trees, Forage, and Animals in a Farm Ecosystem

by Steve Gabriel

with guest contributors Eric Toensmeier, Connor Stedman, and more




A new book is in the works by ecologist, author, and farmer Steve Gabriel. Over the past 14 years, Steve has passionately pursued work that re-connects people to the forested landscape and supports them to grow their skills in forest and farm stewardship. He currently works as Agroforestry Extension Specialist for the Cornell Small Farms Program and co-operates Wellspring Forest Farm and School in the Finger Lakes region of New York with his wife Elizabeth. 


Steve is also co-author of Farming the Woods, a book which explores the cultivation of mushrooms, fruits, nuts, and more, all within the canopy of an existing forest. The book has been called "exceptionally useful" and "highly recommended" as a resource for temperature agroforestry.


READ THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT: http://blog.silvopasturebook.com




“LIKE” OUR FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/silvopasturebook/



-------------------------
Upcoming Events
-------------------------



Steve is again teaching an online course in Woodland Mushroom Cultivation through the Cornell Small Farm Program, running November 8 – December 13, with Webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 7:30pm EST.


Learn more at: http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/woodland-mushroom-cultivation-bf-151/


He will also co-teach an online course in Oyster Production in Barns, High Tunnels, and Greenhouses with Willie Crosby from Fungi Ally in MA, March 1 – April 5 2017:

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/oyster-mushroom-cultivation/


---------------------------------------
Quote of the Month:
---------------------------------------

“Anyone who has a garden, park or orchard tree has an opportunity to ensure that it offers protection, brings beauty and bears fruit for future generations. In short, every one of us should aspire to be a forester.”



― Gabriel Hemery


---------------------------------------
News from the Woods” is brought to you by:



Wellspring Forest Farm & School
leaving forests in our footsteps



Steve & Elizabeth Gabriel
Mecklenburg, NY
www.WellspringForestFarm.com
farmers@wellspringforestfarmcom

Let us know what you think!


To subscribe, please visit news.wellspringforestfarm.com and simply enter your email. Or you can email stevegabrielfarmer@gmail.com with “SUBSCRIBE” as the subject line, and we will add you to the list!

To unsubscribe, please send an email with the subject “UNSUBSCRIBE ME” to stevegabrielfarmer@gmail.com







Monday, October 3, 2016

Purchase our Pastured Lamb and Support Local Food and Regenerative Farming


PASTURED LAMB FOR SALE

Wellspring Forest Farm & School, in Mecklenburg, NY is selling pastured lamb & mutton, by the half or whole. Your purchase supports regenerative, local farming and provides you and your family with healthy meat for the table.

We are taking orders now on first come, first serve basis. Meat will be ready and available for pick-up at the end of October and again in early December. 

Our Katahdin sheep produce flavorful and tender meat and live an idyllic life, grazing always on pasture and in the woods.  We rotationally graze, moving the flock from paddock to paddock every few days. Regularly moving the sheep builds soil, sequesters carbon, and promotes native vegetation, while also supporting healthy and strong animals. 

Our farm philosophy is not to raise sheep just for meat, but rather to raise happy animals that get to live life as their biology desires, supporting the rebuilding of a healthy farm landscape. The meat we sell allows us to manage this system, and is a byproduct of good farming practices.

PRICES:

Lamb: $6.75/lb hanging weight, which averages around 40 - 50 lbs per lamb. Half a lamb will cost about of $135 - $170 and a whole $270 - $350.

Mutton: $6.00/lb handing weight, which averages 50 – 60 lbs per ewe. The meat is still tender and richer in flavor. Half a lamb will cost about of $150 - $180 and a whole $300 - $360.

With lamb, you can choose your cuts with your order. We send you a cut sheet to fill out once we have your deposit and your order is confirmed. If you want a half lamb and are particular about your cuts, we suggest finding a friend to purchase with so you can order a whole together, choose cuts and split it between yourselves – with most cuts, there are two of each.  Otherwise, we select typical cut choices or divvy up half-orders for each order. 

With mutton, our personal preference is to have it mostly processed into ground or cubes for stews, burgers and similar, but happy to follow any requests.  Your order includes a variety of cuts for the freezer, excellent for cooking roasts or stews. We provide recipes and ideas for preparing the various cuts with your order.

ORDERING: Email farmers@wellspringforestfarm.com or call Elizabeth at 607.793.3383 

Please tell us: 
name
phone & email
half or whole order
lamb or mutton
pick-up location (Ithaca or on farm, in Mecklenburg).  
preferred date (late OCT or early DEC)

 Meat will be delivered packaged and frozen.

Once we have your order, we’ll ask you to mail a $75 deposit.  When ordering, you can request a smaller or larger lamb and we will do our best to meet requests.

Wellspring Forest Farm & School, owned by Steve and Elizabeth Gabriel, is a regenerative farm enterprise that seeks to improve the health of the land while producing food and medicine. In addition to lamb, we produce mushrooms, maple syrup, duck eggs, and elderberry extract. We teach people about forest stewardship and cultivation of forest products through educational hikes, workshops, and apprentice programs.

Learn more about our work at www.WellspringForestFarm.com

##

Wanting to Start or Expand a flock of your own?
Wellspring Forest Farm & School, in Mecklenburg, NY has a limited number of live ewes and lambs for sale, perfect for starting or adding to a homestead or farm flock.

Our Katahdin flock is one-four years old and only has grazed on pasture and tree fodder. They live on pasture year round, eating locally grown hay when pasture is covered by snow. We have kept good records and monitored sheep health, selecting lines for parasite resistance, good mothering, body conditioning and temperament. The Katahdin breed, a hair sheep, known for being calm, hardy, and resistant to common sheep diseases. Read more about the breed: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/katahdin

We sell live lambs June – December and ewes anytime. We breed in November and also can sell you pregnant ewes in December, for spring lambing.

If interested, email mail farmers@wellspringforestfarm.com or call Steve at 607.342.2825 with any questions and to come meet the flock.


Friday, September 23, 2016

September News: Storing Vitamin D for Winter, Radical Mycology Convergence

News from the Woods
a monthly digest of resources, events, and people in forestry & agroforestry



September 2016



Welcome to the September news from Wellspring Forest Farm and School. Each month, we share useful information about methods for improving forest health and increasing productivity and diversity, along with the happenings of our farm and educational programs.

This month – read about how fall colors may be affected by the drought, consider the science of storing sunlight in dried shiitake mushrooms, and join us at the Radical Mycology Convergence October 6 – 10.


For the trees,
Steve & Elizabeth




-------------------
In the Woods
-------------------


While it may not be a surprise, given the drought, that fall colors will probably be delayed, short in their display, and muted in their brilliance, we can nevertheless glean some useful lessons from this challenging season.

Pay attention to the trees in your woods that change color and drop eariliest – these indeed are likely signs of stress and can help you identify which trees might be best to consider thinning. The sprectrum of health in a woods will become incredibly prominent in the coming weeks, and its useful information for an observant steward. Consider marking stressed trees with flagging, so you can revist them in the winter as you consider candidates for thinning.
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fid/august97/08259704.html


Still, if you are aching to see good colors, you might be advised to scout for cooler areas that were not as affected by drought conditions. This guide by Donald Leopold from SUNY ESF is a good summary of some of the best spots in Central NY.
http://www.esf.edu/ecenter/CNY%20Fall%20Colors.pdf



Long term, its uncertain what fates the beloved fall colors of the Northeast will experience from climate change. An interesting series of articles looks at the research of this question, highly recommended reading for those interested.
http://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors/update-whether-climate-change-will-affect-fall-leaf-color-displays




------------------
On the Farm
------------------


We have released a FREE article at our website, called “Storing Sunlight for Winter: The Amazing Ability of Mushrooms to Accumulate Vitamin D.”


In it, we explore the science of solar dehydration of mushrooms, which can increase their vitamin D content tremendously.


This is key for many of us in the northern half of the US, as our ability to synthesize D from the sun is eliminated once we get into the winter months.



DOWNLOAD the article at our website "MEDIA" Page




-------------------------
Upcoming Events
-------------------------


On October 6-10, 2016, the 4th Radical Mycology Convergence (RMC) will commence on a land trust in Wingdale to teach participants how mycology (the science of fungi) can address various social and environmental issues.

The schedule has just been released! Steve will be presenting on Friday afternoon, on woodland mushroom production and forest health.

A donation-based, volunteer-run gathering, the RMC is unlike any other mushroom-based event in both its scope of information and grassroots ethos.

By bringing together hundreds of mycologists, fungal enthusiasts, activists, and sustainability advocates, the RMC seeks to spread awareness around how fungi can strengthen the personal, social, and ecological systems of the world in a positive and proactive way.


Check it out at:

http://www.radicalmycologyconvergence.com



---- 


Steve is again teaching the popular online course BF 151: Woodland Mushroom Cultivation through the Cornell Small Farm Program, running November 8 – December 13, with Webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 7:30pm EST.

Learn more at: http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/woodland-mushroom-cultivation-bf-151/

He will also co-teach an online course in Oyster Production in Barns, High Tunnels, and Greenhouses with Willie Crosby from Fungi Ally in MA, March 1 – April 5 2017:

http://www.nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/oyster-mushroom-cultivation/
 


 ----

Finally, we will be appearing at several conferences this fall and winter, to share our experience with mushrooms, agroforestry, and ducks:


October 7 at the Radical Mycology Convergence
"Growing Woodland Mushrooms for Forest Health"

November 11 at NESAWG's It Takes a Region Conference
Panelist on Agroforestry in the Northeast

December 8 at Stone Barn's Young Farmer Conference
"Profitable Shiitake Mushroom Production: What does it take?"

January 20 - 22 at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference
"Profitable Log-Grown Shiitake Production" and "Raising Ducks for Multiple Functions"


---------------------------------------
Quote of the Month:
---------------------------------------



“You expected to be sad in the fall.


Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light.



But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen..”



― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast




---------------------------------------


“News from the Woods” is brought to you by:



Wellspring Forest Farm & School
leaving forests in our footsteps


Steve & Elizabeth Gabriel
Mecklenburg, NY
www.WellspringForestFarm.com
farmers@wellspringforestfarmcom



Let us know what you think!


To subscribe, please visit news.wellspringforestfarm.com and simply enter your email. Or you can email stevegabrielfarmer@gmail.com with “SUBSCRIBE” as the subject line, and we will add you to the list!


To unsubscribe, please send an email with the subject “UNSUBSCRIBE ME” to stevegabrielfarmer@gmail.com