Good News - More Farms Are "Hoofin' It" ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good News - More Farms Are "Hoofin' It"

Just saw this short piece in the New York Times about a growing trend among small farms - more and more of them are using animal power in place of tractors and other oil-powered machines.
Rich Ciotola with the team of young oxen he works with in Sheffield, Mass. Photo by Jennifer May, courtesy of The New York Times web site.
It looks like Kristin Kimball, author of The Dirty Life (a great new read - my review is here) and her husband, Mark of Essex Farm are in good company. They use draft horses to work their 100-acre organic farm in New York's northcountry.

Animal power has some distinct advantages to oil-powered machines for small-scale farming:
  • They don't require costly, environment-polluting fossil fuels;
  • They never need spare parts;
  • They are literally lighter on the land than machines are - instead of leaving deep ruts of dense-packed soil behind them, the hooves of horses and oxen actually aerate the soil and do not damage the all-important layers of fertile microbes in the dirt;
  • They also provide free fertilizer!; and
  • They're better company than a tractor.
Demand for instruction on how to train and work with draft animals is soaring as young farmers look to a 7,000-year-old practice to help make their farms as modern as possible.

Draft power is spreading! Read more on the site.


Jen Green said...

Fantastic. This is very uplifting news. Thanks so much for sharing!

One Woman... said...

Love it! We should all be thinking this way!! Yay for manual and horse labor!

Shannon Marie said...

Fewer emissions, more manure. Like it!!