Members of the Finger Lakes CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) gathered September 15, 2014 at the Good Life Farm in Interlaken to tour this amazing and diverse farm operation. Owners Melissa Madden and Garrett Miller are serious innovators, dedicated to “farming on an energy descent curve.”
They’re developing systems of “perennial plant and animal polyculture,” interweaving perennial crops (fruit trees, asparagus), high-value annual crops (ginger, turmeric, vegetables, winter greens) and lush pasture, intensively grazed by diverse livestock. The farm is a complex, integrated biological system, designed to mimick the super-productive ecosystems of the forest edge.
“Our neighbors were appalled to see us planting trees on this good corn ground,” she laughs. In 6 short years since purchasing the land, they’ve transformed it from a pure monoculture of corn to an incredibly diverse, multi-storied landscape.
Good Life Farm’s latest adventure is construction of a spanking new cidery building, with state-of-the-art cider brewing equipment and gigantic walk-in cooler on the basement floor, and a generous retail space on the main floor. In keeping with Good Life Farm’s commitment to creative marketing partnerships with other farmers, they will share the facility with four other orchardists/cider makers in the area.
CRAFT membership is open to all farm interns, employees, aspiring and experienced farmers. The CRAFT meets monthly throughout the growing season at each of 6 Mentor Farms. To join click HERE.