As we feed our students both breakfast and lunch, and our live-in staff and volunteers receive full room and board, food represents a large portion of Trinity Yard’s budget. To reduce costs and become more sustainable we are working hard to produce as much food on our farm as we can. In the process we are integrating the agriculture program into the school curriculum to make a double benefit. Our long term goal is to guarantee TYS a continuous food yield. Ultimately, we are striving to become more self-reliant to insure our food security and reduce expenses.
Respecting permaculture practices, we break our land into five zones. Zone 1 being where we are the most (around the school building) with each zone getting further away until zone 5 which is considered “the wilds”. To design what plants go where in each zone that we cultivate we consider these variables.
- frequency of care
- distance from the kitchen
- space available
- micro climate and
- soil characteristics.
In general, most of our soil is poor and needs considerable amending. Thanks to our compost piles (of kitchen waste, repurposed thatch, and collected seaweed), we have some deep mulch beds.
Farming in Cape Three Points is the polar opposite of gardening in temperate climates. The sea breeze and the beating sun are tough on many of our tender vegetables. Using existing hedgerows and new ones has been key to block the strong salty sea breeze and strong sun. for the same reason when possible we establish garden beds around our banana and plantain plantings. Most of our farm is densely and diversely planted for optimal companionship, shade, moisture retention, and reduced weed pressure. Embracing permaculture practices, we have a “no bare soil” policy, which runs contrary to local habit.
A big shout out and many thanks to Sophie Viandier of Pay it Forward Farm for her instruction, mentorship and inspiration. For more about permaculture, visit Pay it Forward Farm on Facebook.