Sustainability

Our Commitment is to Live in Balance with Nature.

Banks Mountain Forest Farm sits on a 3,400-foot elevation ridge between two picturesque mountains near Hendersonville, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Five of our 34 acres are currently in pasture; the remaining acreage is forested. This balance of pasture and forest fits into our farm management plan, which reflects our commitment and vision to live in balance with nature.

Sustainability In Multiple Forms

At the center of the farm's rolling pastures stands our red timber frame barn and farmhouse, which has a spectacular year-round view of Bald Top Mountain to the south. Forests of mature oak, hickory, birch, poplar, sourwood, locust, maple, and ash ring the grassy slopes, shading the edges. Boer goats and Kangal dogs rest in sturdy shelters designed in the style of the Adirondack sheds found along the Appalachian Trail. Heritage breed pigs and laying hens enjoy peace and safety, thanks to the Kangal dogs that secure the perimeter. A chorus of howls from the dogs begins at the first scent of a bear or coyote-and that's all it takes to deter any predator from coming close. A pair of Danish-Swedish Farmdogs patrol the fenced areas around the house for mice and snakes.

Every structure on the farm, from the farm store to the woodshed, is crafted from wood harvested onsite. Once trees are selected, felled, and cut to length, the logs are then skidded using a logging arch over rough terrain with a team of draft horses. What wood isn't good enough to mill for lumber is split and stacked for fuel-for use in an outdoor furnace/boiler that heats the house and the domestic hot water supply. Tubing in our home's concrete floors cycles heated water to regulate the room temperature. A solar panel array on the roof generates more than enough energy for the entire farm, and the excess goes back to the grid. There's no interruption in the electricity supply in a power outage, thanks to back-up lithium-ion batteries that are connected to the photovoltaic system. In fact, the farm can function indefinitely because it's totally energy independent.

Our seasonal vegetable garden provides table fare, as well as scraps for the pigs. Blueberry bushes and raspberry canes offer an abundance of fresh fruit in the summer. Delicious wineberries and other wild edible plants and mushrooms are easily found in seasonal foraging walks around the farm. Each spring, hundreds of bare-root evergreen seedlings are planted in the sunnier areas of the forest for Christmas trees. Eventually, when these mature, folks will be able to come out and harvest their own. We have placed dozens of white oaks logs in the forest that have been inoculated with nine species of choice edible mushroom spores; these will provide mushrooms for both the table and the farm store soon.

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