The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The design of New Forest Farm

Chestnut with pigsI left you hanging in yesterday's post, so I figure several of you are probably wondering --- what exactly does Mark Shepard's farm look like?  He based his design on the natural oak savanna ecosystem, but replaced wild plants with productive, domesticated species and laid everything out in rows with 23-foot alleys in between the trees.  His primary species include:

In the alleys between these trees and shrubs, livestock clip back the grasses and add another food (and income) source.  Shepard recommends using Salatin-style grazing, with the number of each type of animal based on the number of cattle.  For example, if your farm has just one cow, Shepard recommends two hogs (Tamworth, Red Wattle, or Berkshires), four turkeys, one sheep, and variable chickens (with the amount of chickens dependent on how much you want to feed them).  Geese or goats can replace sheep, although Shepard seemed very anti-goat.

I wish Shepard had given us many more details on his farm, but this is all I could pull out of his book!  Hopefully it will be enough to give many of you new ideas, though, just as it set me off on my tree alley experiments.

To learn more about the nitty-gritty of rotational grazing, check out Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics.

This post is part of our Restoration Agriculture lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Could you speak to why this ratio was recommended?
Comment by Daniel Dessinger Wed Nov 13 00:07:19 2013
Daniel --- The idea with the animal ratio is to maximize the output without harming the pasture. Unfortunately, the author didn't go much into his reasoning, but I suspect it's based on data from Joel Salatin (since that's where most of the grazing information in the book seems to come from).
Comment by anna Wed Nov 13 08:22:59 2013
Nice site! I read this book and agree the book was hard to extract any useful specifics, although I agree with his copy the pattern not the details. Some details are useful, however. Does he put all of these tree/shrub species together? You mention apples and hazels together. So not chesnut? And the understory... under which one (if they are separate)?
Comment by Joseph Tue Aug 5 08:26:50 2014

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.