After living off grid and searching for the dream of their own land for a couple of years, in 2010 Hannah, and her family (including two young daughters) moved onto an 18 acre field in Lincolnshire. When the family first bought their land in 2010, the field was in a very poor state. It had been used for growing oil seed rape for decades, the lifeless soil had no organic matter present and was heavily dependent on chemicals.
The Inkpot is now a small family farm and a fast growing permaculture demonstration, LAND and education centre using permaculture tools, ethics and principles as its core design. RegenAG and Holistic Management are both tools within that design, which have made a massive difference to the health of the land. ‘Slow and steady’ has been key to the effectiveness of the farm design.
* 3,000 trees planted in the first year with the aid of a grant from the Woodland Trust. The main functions of the woodland will be for timber, windbreaks and habitat.
* Turkeys are used to graze around the young trees
* A managed grazing system - A flerd (Lincoln Longwool and Jacob sheep grazed with Lincoln Red cattle), followed by (mixed breed) chickens.
* A forest garden, containing what ever plants can be begged borrowed or stole, and seeing what thrives – this includes a diverse range of fruit trees.
* Meat from the sheep, cows and poultry plus eggs are sold locally, and with the help of social media.
* Wool from the sheep has been processed and spun at a local mill for the first time last year, and is now for sale
* Working Wednesdays (volunteer days) – really popular with a mix of folk, both from the local area and further away – routine jobs, or new projects are tackled.
* A family scale veggie garden, incorporating raised beds using tyres and using ducks for pest control.
* The creation of ponds and other connected water systems.
* Hannah and her family welcome and support live-in interns onto the farm, which is very much a 2 way beneficial connection and relationship
Other current ideas for future design elements and systems at The Inkpot include:-
* Selling the skins from the animals in the flerd
* Adding goats to the flerd, for dairy products
* Keyline ploughing and the use of biofertilisers are both RegenAG techniques that Hannah would love to use at The Inkpot. Although there is no capacity to do this at present, they are very much on the list for the future.
All photos by The Inkpot
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