Big Changes – Water Conservation Through Earthworks
Having the pipeline run through our property has not been all bad. A silver lining was there after all. Because our production was reduced and kept primarily in the front of our property we were able to explore some permaculture practices that Bertrand Farm has been wanting to install for some time but could not have afforded to take a season of production off to complete. We decided to take an opportunity to reshape the operation in a major way. Part of transitioning to a farm system based on permaculture is to provide for our plants and animals using on site resources. The key point for all of our living friends is the availability of water. Traditionally we are using electricity to pump water through hoses and pipes for crops and animals. In this way we were working against the force of gravity, pushing water in the opposite direction that it naturally flows. We want to work with natural forces, another principle of permaculture, as part of a model of sustainability. How do we work with gravity to collect, store, and distribute water? One system we settled on that has been shown to be very effective is something called a swale. Swales are akin to a ditch, except instead of being cut following the slope of a hill, they are cut across a slope on an even elevation. By doing this we are able to intercept the flow of water, store it, and distribute it slowly to the area below using no energy. Instead of drawing water upwards quickly, we are letting it filter downwards slowly. This method will support our crop areas, as well as animal pastures and create an environment that stores carbon, water and nutrients.
This is so exciting, check it out: