Buying local. Eating local. Sourcing local. Supporting local. Good Neighbors. Common catch-phrases, but this year Linda and I have learned how much our local community has to offer. We are committed to the idea of natural sustainability, so we have done a lot of reading from the likes of Eliot Coleman, Rodale and other nationally recognized experts on organic practices. We are also realizing the incredible resources available locally.

Our Forsyth County NC Agricultural Extension Agent, Mary-Jac Brennan, is fabulous. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience available from NC State University, growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu, and CFSA, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, carolinafarmstewards.org. Always around for good advice and information are neighbor farmers and friends like Kevin Frack at TerraSol Farms, terrasolfarms.com. While Eliot Coleman’s book, The New Organic Grower, is a must read so is Vegetable Gardening in the SouthEast by regional expert Ira Wallace, a gardener and part of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It is a valuable seeding, planning and harvesting guide specific to our area. Of course, it was Kevin Frack who recommended the book. We went to Slow Food Piedmont’s Annual Seed Swap at the end of January and learned about several local vegetable varieties.

One of my goals for 2015 is to look closer to home for the expertise and advice I need first. Yesterday I was describing to a new neighbor, Wade, that I was going to have to learn how to keep deer out of our fields this coming season. Wade mentioned prior to retiring he was a professional fencing contractor. He described the type of fence that would be the most effective, told me where to find it, and like a good neighbor, offered to help us with it. Most often what makes a place a haven, is the people around us. We love this haven.

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