By Dana Lucas, UMass Sustainable Food and Farming student
D Acres is a large scale non-profit permaculture farm and homestead nestled in the White Mountains near Dorchester, New Hampshire, operating since 1997. D Acres mission is to provide a space for community outreach, sustainable lifestyle education and applied regenerative system farming. “D Acres” stands for a Development Aimed at Creating Rural Ecological Society, which they have embodied successfully by running a hostel, a work exchange program and by providing accommodations to the nearby community. By implementing both old homesteading techniques and newer technology, D Acres is considered to be one of the most successful large-scale permaculture farms in New England.
There are a variety of examples of permaculture design on the 180 acre property. By mimicking an ecological system this farm is able to manage inputs and outputs efficiently and effectively. A large part of D Acres regenerative system is dedicated to reducing energy and water consumption using technologies such as composting toilets and solar hot water showers. Additionally, much of the land is dedicated to the conservation of the forest, which is used for both accessible trails and sustainable timber use. D Acres uses timber from fallen trees, which are moved with oxen in order to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Wood from these trees is used for crafting items such as wooden spoons or burning as firewood. A successful food forest has been planted among the rows of annual crops in order to provide perennial fruit and nut production and expand the edible landscape.
This farm is also committed to seed saving in order to lower off farm inputs. Possibly most important are the inclusion of different animals on the farm such as the pigs, which feed off of free “waste” collected from the local grocery story. By embodying the three ethics of permaculture: earth care, fair share, and people care, D Acres is saving natural resources by constantly finding ways to reduce consumer consumption. D Acres strives to continue modeling the system of nature, which is always the best designer.
It is highly recommended to take a trip out to D Acres if you would like a weekend getaway or are interested in learning more about how to create a sustainable lifestyle. For more information, see: http://www.dacres.org/.
More Pictures from D Acres….