One of the core values of Brightheart Farm is ecological and land stewardship. As a way of reimagining modern industrial and extractive agriculture, we seek to cultivate a reciprocal, non-exploitative relationship to the land we’re farming, implementing practices that not only maintain land quality, but improve the capacity and resiliency of our farm and forest ecosystems. Philosophically, this is based on the premise that we, as human beings, are not separate from our environment, and that as an intelligent species, we are additionally responsible for the well being of our Mother Earth.
To promote Land Stewardship, we are constantly seeking to learn, improve, and grow our agricultural practices. To the best of our current ability, we have tried to adopt a holistic view when implementing farming practices. Rather than seeing any one part of our farm as separate, we strive to understand the complex interplay of natural resources and nutrients as they move through various on-farm ecosystems. This means that overall environmental health, instead of profit, is the guiding principle with which we make decisions. Could we make more money if we clear cut all of our trees to make room for vegetable production? Yes, but doing so would have long term negative impacts on the health of our farm and the surrounding ecosystems connected to it.
In addition to the holistic management of our farm, we continue to make decisions with the goal of becoming a closed-loop agricultural system. That means that we seek to be able to produce and procure as many of our necessary inputs, such as compost, animal feed, and seeds, from our own farm as possible. Being such a small operation, we will probably never achieve a perfect closed-loop system, but using closed-loop thinking as a guiding principle helps to move us closer to our goal and to make the most ecologically sound decisions possible.
Animals are a necessary part of any healthy ecosystem, including farm ecosystems. We aim to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with domesticated animals to the benefit of our farm. Animals play a key role in our movement towards a closed-loop system, providing valuable nutrients in the form of manure and by mimicking the roles of non-domesticated animals in wild ecosystems. In this way, they help to maintain the biodiversity and resiliency of our farm. We also aim to provide healthy and happy lives for our animals with adequate food, shelter, and protection from predators. By reinforcing positive, mutual interdependence with animals, we are trying to counteract, in one small way, the exploitation of animals in the industrial agricultural system.