When you think of the words "innovation" and "creative problem-solving" you probably think of sleek board rooms in open-concept offices and all night hack-a-thons at tech start ups. You're unlikely to think of farmers out in their fields retrofitting a tractor from the 1950s to lay down biodegradable plastic mulch; or out in their driveway using cattle panel to create a sturdy greenhouse frame.
Sustainable farming often requires creative problem-solving and innovating whenever possible to fight the elements (bugs, weather, disease) and to save labour in a busy season. In early April, we built a small but efficient greenhouse for starting seedlings. It's conveniently located only a few feet away from the house in the driveway (so glamourous, right?) so we can water our seedlings with ease and heat the greenhouse on cold mornings and nights. The greenhouse might not be the prettiest, but it is sturdy, efficient and, above all, affordable. And if you ask Jon, he is mad proud of it.
I love the current obsession in our culture with innovation, start up culture, and life hacking. Innovation is most often attributed to businesses based on sexy new ideas or time-saving technologies. But here on the farm the old adage remains true: "Necessity is mother of invention". Everyday there is a problem to be solved and more often than not, the solution involves duck tape.
Over the next few weeks our greenhouse will be filled with thousands of tiny seedlings. They'll enjoy shelter, heat and sunshine while we prepare the fields for planting. It's an exciting time. Right now we're embracing the warm weather and sunshine as well as our inner optimism, and starting to plant the fields this week. Snow peas, beets, carrots, spinach and argugla are all seeded. Stay tuned - we'll show you what comes up!