Bondegaard Receives a Resiliency Grant from NOFA

Bondegaard Receives a Resiliency Grant from NOFA

Ricky the Meadmaker
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Our partner farm, Bondegaard, has been selected for a resilience grant from NOFA (the Northeast Organic Farmers Association)!

We were one of over 150 applicants who submitted projects to NOFA-VT's 2023 Resilience Grant program and we just learned that they're going to be helping us get some critical supplies and document our work so that we can share what we develop with other farmers.

Read on to learn all about our Resilient Hedgerow Project!

Strawberries for hedgerow at Bondegaard

What is NOFA-VT's Resilience Grant?

For a full overview of the program, you can head over to the grant page here. But in brief: it's a pool of funds allocated annually that is "used to improve the resilience on your farm, in your community, and/or for your broader community, with a focus on the social, environmental, and economic impact of the project."

The committee is made up of other farmers in Vermont who assess the project to see how well it fits with the goals of NOFA and long-term farm resilience in general.

NOFA awards Bondegaard 2023 Resiliency Grant

Get on with it! Tell us about your Resilient Hedgerow Project!

Sorry, didn't mean to bury the lede there.

Starting in 2020, we've been experimenting at Bondegaard with perennial plantings in multiple stories both for food production and as a tool to mitigate the impacts of conventional ag on small regenerative and/or organic operations. (More on our connection with Bondegaard below.)

Many of the principles of the project are based on the "food forest" and "guild" concepts from Permaculture Design.[1] Simply put:

  1. Plants never grow in isolation in nature, so try to replicate these beneficial groupings as much as possible.
  2. Think in three dimensions (thus the "food forest" term) filling up each story from the ground up with plants that thrive in those conditions.
  3. Try to address the needs of all the living things in the system, including, of course, humans, but also everything from bacteria to bugs to birds to badgers.

Work begins on hedgerow at Bondegaard

Another important concept in Permaculture is that everything in the system should provide as many benefits as possible. To that end, our hedgerow:

  1. Provides food for humans and local wildlife.
  2. Has economically viable crops throughout.
  3. Provides habitat for wildlife.
  4. Offers physical barrier isolation from conventional ag inputs for sensitive crops.
  5. Is beautiful!

More about Bondegaard!

Bondegaard has been a pet project of ours for seven years now! You can learn all about it here, but if you want a TL;DR:

Bondegaard is about seven miles away from the meadery in beautiful Swanton, VT. It is primarily a wildlife habitat with pollinator protection areas. It is a registered Monarch Watch Colossal Waystation site and home to scores of plants and insects.

About a quarter acre is under production producing ingredients for our events, staff, and brews.

How do I learn more?

We'll be providing regular updates about the project as part of the grant proposal. As with all of our recipes and everything about our brewing process, this is an open-source project!

If you're interested in planting your own hedgerow, drop us a line! We're happy to chat!

[1] If you want to learn more about Permaculture Design, just Google it! See you back here in, oh, about thirty-five years... It's rabbit holes all the way down, friend.

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