We purchased Asclepias Farm in December 2017. Our goal was the development of our farm using practices that benefit soil health, water, air quality, and pollinators. We had a lot of work ahead of us. For decades, the fields had been primarily pasture lands; but not maintained for soil quality or the prevention of encroachment of woody growth – including a lot of invasive species. We began a war on invasive species. We have incorporated cover cropping, soil amendments, addition of organic material to improve pH, light tillage or no-till seeding, and use of constant soil coverage to enhance soil health. Our crop selection has taken into consideration market potential, environmental benefits, and adaptability to the soil and topography of our farm. We embraced the idea of pollinator-friendly native species and chose to farm milkweed and cut flowers. Our cut flower crops will include native perennials, field grown and specialty cuts.
To evaluate the advancement of our goal for a pollinator-friendly farm through improved monarch butterfly and wild bee habitat, we will conduct annual surveys, following the guidelines developed by Cornell University’s wild bees and integrated monarch monitoring program (Carneau et al. 2019)