West Jefferson, North Carolina – Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture announces an Educational Farm Tour on February 11 (snow date Feb 18) from 1–3 pm to be followed by a “Women in Ag” potluck gathering. Join Kristen & David Travis at Old Season Farm in Ashe County where Kristen will discuss a unique approach to water and weed management in their hazelnut orchard.
Steep slopes and variable weather make water management difficult in the High Country, but swales can offer an innovative way to conserve water in our region. These level ditches help to slow the movement of surface runoff, increase water infiltration, and improve water and nutrient availability for plants.
During this Educational Farm Tour, Kristen Travis will describe the recent construction of 3 acres of swales on her land that were funded by a BRWIA grant and compare the costs and benefits with those of drip irrigation. Other topics to be covered include: hazelnuts as a high country crop and using sheep for integrated orchard management.
Old Season Farm is using swales as part of an experimental perennial polyculture system designed to be environmentally sustainable and commercially viable. Kristen says “Our goal is to find or develop varieties of the European hazelnut that can be grown profitably in our region.” But she cautions, “we don’t know if they will produce reliably yet. Still, we’re excited to share what we’ve learned so far.” During the tour, there will be plenty of opportunities for participants to ask questions about any aspect of Old Season Farm’s projects.
Following the tour at 3 pm, a “Women in Ag” potluck gathering will be held at Kristen’s home. This get-together will offer the opportunity for women involved in any aspect of agriculture to network, learn from one another, and connect with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and their services. Please bring your favorite teas or finger foods to share. Children and Families are welcome!
The Educational Farm Tour and BRWIA potluck gathering are both free, but participants must RSVP by February 9. For more information or to RSVP for either event visit www.brwia.org/swales. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-386-1537.