An interested and interesting group of people came through the open gate to hear how CD and Bobby Pounds are healing their soil and growing their business. This HMI Open Gate event was held June 6, 2015 at Triple Cross Farm in Fruitvale, TX.
The 50 participants, who collectively influence 10, 571 acres, learned the mistakes as well as the successes as CD walked them through the kitchen garden, the composting area and the compost tea brewing area. She explained how her involvement in Holistic Management has made a huge difference in how the farm is managed. Decisions are now made toward a clearly defined goal that includes both current and future enterprises.
Through the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: Women in Texas program, CD met Betsy Ross and other dynamic women doing amazing things with the land. She became a Holistic Management® Certified Educator in Training and spent a second year in the Beginning Women Farmers, mentoring other women, learning to teach Holistic Management and learning all she could from Betsy Ross about healing the land through native plants, compost tea and a general understanding of what the land is saying with the plants it hosts.
Betsy was right there to offer deeper explanations and answer the trickier questions as the Open Gate participants walked or rode through the landscape on a flatbed pulled by Bobby Pounds on his tractor. As usual, Betsy walks with a shovel to monitor the roots and the soil food web, as well as the soil surface and the above-ground life.
Tracy Litle taught the group a simple land monitoring method and sent them into the field to practice in small groups. Tracy is also a Holistic Management® Certified Educator in Training, a student of Betsy Ross and operator, with husband Bill, of Faith Hollow Farm near Corpus Christi.
Lunch was a wonderful homemade assortment of salads and chicken tortilla soup with brownies for dessert. After lunch, HMI Program Manager Peggy Cole gave an overview of Holistic Management while the group enjoyed a little air conditioning and a second glass of lemonade. Tracy Litle had a great presentation on soil health and the ways she is using Holistic Management to transform her south Texas thorn forest into thriving grassland for horses, cows, and goats.
Betsy Ross, in her usual passionate style, convinced us that we can use native plants to restore sluggish soils to thriving communities of plants and soil organisms. She explained the crucial relationship between fungal and bacterial residents of the soil food web and how to attract each to your soil.
Dietitian Jerri Berry connected those dots to the role of the flora and fauna of trillions of microbes in your own body doing the work of digestion. She explained how to care for these essential creatures without which we’d be quite dead.
CD Pounds described a part of the vision in her holistic goal: her desire for a food forest to nourish and enchant her guests. Each table considered the food forest relative to CD’s land and came up with a little land plan for such an endeavor. All the land plans were left with CD to mull over before she creates the final version.
Thanks to the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation for their support of this program.
“All people, Peggy Cole, Betsy Ross, Tracy Litle, Jerri Berry, and CD Pounds did an excellent job in presentation of material. For us it was excellent open gate. My knowledge and understanding was enhanced. I was excited to hear Jerri Berry’s topic on nutrition.”
“Loved the material and info. “
“Of course, I loved it! It served to further solidify my knowledge.”
“Loved meeting a local community of people that are like-minded.”
“I intend to continue contact to improve land through soil management, as well as meeting like-minded ranchers.”
“I intend less mowing of pastures – ‘let it grow’. “
“Hopefully my husband was inspired so we can write a management plan together.”\
|Overall Satisfaction of this event (Rated good to excellent)||97%|
|Confident in your ability to incorporate new management strategies to build resilience in soils plants & animals||91%|
|Confident in your ability to improve land health||91%|
|Increased knowledge of how to observe and assess ecosystem processes||85%|
|Intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned as a result of this event?||93%|
|Recommend the event to others||97%|
|Expand your network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available to you||97%|