Sustainability at ifarm LLC

Carriage House Solar Panels

At ifarm we do our best to emulate the practices that made 19th century family farmers successful. Sustainability and energy conservation were extremely important practicalities in the past. They are even more important in a world of seven billion people.

ifarm is dedicated to sustainability in a number of ways.

Solar Electricity

Our electricity use is offset by a solar array installed in 2014. Each year we generate around 10,200 kWh (kiloWatt hours, a measure of energy use over time). This is about what an average American residential home uses each year (x). We use very little electricity on the farm, so the lion’s share of this energy is sold back to the grid at wholesale pricing. We have also built a solar dryer to dry our herbs using the heat of the sun. It’s great to be net-positive!

Permaculture

Our permaculture garden was created to be as self-sufficient as possible by conserving water, materials and unnecessary labor. It is terraced with swales, trenches filled with stone to collect water, and the planting beds were sheet mulched to support over 200 different varieties of plants. All these elements work together to nourish the soil and lower the need for compost. Additionally, numerous hügelkultur (a mound culture or hill culture constructed of tree limbs and branches) retain water and fertilize the soil. Many of our plants are perennials that naturally reseed.

Farm Restoration

Our restored 19th-century buildings have several sustainable design features. The farmhouse, constructed in 1790, faces south to soak up the warmth of the sunlight, especially during long New England winters. The barn has a root cellar, built ca. 1870, in which the temperature remains above freezing during the winter. A water tower, constructed on the property ca. 1900, can store over 3,000 gallons water, which we anticipate using to irrigate crops via drip-line.

Explore the Animals of ifarm

In the near future, we anticipate utilizing our draft horses to help cut and rake local Boxford hayfields.  This will supply them with fodder to munch on during the winter.