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preparing a farm for winter

Updated on December 30, 2016

Sometimes people ask me the question, "What can farmers do during the winter months?" as if they may be expecting farmers to hibernate during the winter. Actually, the work of farming is an ongoing, continuous undertaking that never ends.

It is true that much of the work with Summer crops (work with gardens and field crops) like harvesting, is completed by late Fall, but then there are fall crops and winter crops that must be planted, cared for, harvested and marketed which can go on into the winter.

Weather has a part to play in the work of the Fall and Winter months. For example, in Middle Tennessee, where Mamushi Nature Farm is located (in Franklin, Tennessee, to be exact) the months of late Summer and Fall, 2016, were drought-like. Actually, there were drought-like conditions in Tennessee and surrounding areas well into the Fall. This situation affected Fall crops, such as "turnip greens," which is a big money maker for farmers as the holiday season from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas (even New Year's Day) encourages people to spend more money. The Holiday Season for 2016 witnessed shoppers spending one trillion dollars, much of this money being spent on foods and gifts.

Administrative tasks are ongoing regardless of the seasons of the year. for example, in the Spring, 2017, Mamushi Nature Farms will be implementing a new Community Gardening Program which exists to teach families how to prepare and maintain their own raised beds. This program is designed to help parents (and others, of course) teach children how to raise their own foods. Times are changing and we find ourselves moving into an era where quality water and food products will no longer be a thing that can be taken for granted. Teaching and helping neighbors and others to grow their own foods and to practice safe methods of storage of their foods will be the mission and vision of this Community Gardening program. We need 5 apprentices, to start. Those who are interested should contact Dr. Haddox, via his Facebook account or via email at haddoxf@aol.com. It is not important to worry about how you will pay for this particular training because the farm's 501c3 organization, along with other means of procuring funding will cover any costs associated with this "grass-roots" "Amish-like" learning experience. But gardening is work that requires "thought" and "physical input." If one believes that work is a "four-letter" dirty word, then gardening is not for you. Some sweating is absolutely necessary in food production work.

I only mentioned the Community Gardening program because it clearly illustrates how farming has evolved into something more than just "dirt farming" or something that has been, traditionally, thought of as being "thoughtless" work for people without quality, formal educations. Actually, agriculture is an applied science, and an art, that is no longer looked upon as being less that honorable work. I can assure you from experiences in my very own life, after having practiced medicine, worked as an educator, and practiced agribusiness, that farming is equally important to practicing Medicine. As a matter of fact, "Good food is Good Medicine." I live by this proclamation, "Good Food is Good Medicine."

Okay, there you have it. I have given you some rare insights into farming, agribusiness and Community Gardening. Basically, farming the earth is a year around adventure. The article was short but I hope that it was good reading for you. Happy New Year!

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