This is Ben, the farmer at Hermitage Farms

This is Ben, the farmer at Hermitage Farms

While traveling on the road we not only want to protest what we want stopped or changed but we also want to highlight what people are doing right. People who are living part of the solution.

I first found out about Hermitage Farms when a friend of mine told me about the CSA he had there. I signed up. He showed me around the farm and I loved what I saw. For a season I picked up produce and got to know Ben and the farm. We started working together, me putting a hive in his garden. Our 4h group, The bee-attitudes got honey and Hermitage Farms got the benefit of bee pollination for their plants.  When I decided to give up bees for the experience of travelling on the occupy bus tour I gave them to him so now he is learning the art of beekeeping as part of his farming.

Since we are in my town right now I decided to bring Ed and Durty over to see it. We are finding we can highlight solutions just about everywhere we are. There are opportunities all around us so we drove our veggie bus over to his place to check it out and show him our veggie oil set up and house on wheels

Ben greeted us with a smile and time to talk. He has a 10 acre permaculture farm. He started to go to school for organic farming but quickly learned the best way to learn would be to intern so he finished the semester and started interning on a permaculture farm. He interned for a few years learning all he could and soon his parents bought an old pecan farm and he moved to florida so he could take his experience and start his own farm. The learning never ends, Ben is always reading and searching through information so he can have the best farm possible working with nature and the resources available to him. Like the mulch the tree companies drop off to him which he uses to build up the soil or the used hops he picks up from a brewery in Orlando to feed his animals or the trees he cuts down then uses the fresh wood to grow shiitake mushrooms.

Some of the old peacan trees, Ben is enriching the soil around them in hopes he can bring them back to healthy peacan producing trees

Some of the old pecan trees, Ben is enriching the soil around them in hopes he can bring them back to healthy pecan producing trees

Some of the fields with the chicken coop and green house in the background

Some of the fields with the chicken coop and green house in the background

Some more of the CSA crops

Some more of the CSA crops

The meat chickens inside a moveable box which rotates around the fields to add fertilizer to the soil and pecan trees

The meat chickens inside a moveable box which rotates around the fields to add fertilizer to the soil and pecan trees

The Turkey who was too friendly for Thanksgiving dinner

The Turkey who was too friendly for Thanksgiving dinner

inside the chicken coop

inside the chicken coop

inside the green house

inside the green house

seedlings

seedlings

All the different animals rotate through the 10 acres leaving all there different kinds of fertilizer for the soil behind, trimming the grass helping to till the soil digging around in the dirt for a cool spot. He has meat chickens, laying chickens, lambs, sheep, pigs, and soon milk cows. All the animals are well-loved and happy running around in open fields, no cages. The chicken go into their coop at night, the meat chickens have a big wired fence that keeps moving around the land so the pecan trees get fertilized along with the rest of the soil. There are a few sections with produce for the CSA, an area with papaya and banana tress, and the bee hive. Everything working in harmony with each other so the farm is self sustainable and the soil water air and animals are healthy. This will grow healthy food. There is little need to spay when there is so much variety and what harms one plant another plant repels and what pulls nutrients from the soil another will add back.

I can see his passion and love for what he does as he is showing us around. Every organic farmer is making a difference and we need more of them

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Ben showing us his shitake mushrooms

Ben showing us his shiitake mushrooms

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the watchdog

the watchdog he keeps the hawks away from the chickens

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When people picture farms this is what the image is in their head. This farm works for now and for ever because of the diversity, everything complimenting everything else, everything in balance

Ben also has a veggie vehicle of his own. He doesn’t use it anymore. One hit to the back and one hit to the front. It still runs but he couldn’t get it registered because of the damage. He shows us his veggie truck

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And last but not least I always have to get some eggs. I am mostly vegan but I will eat eggs from his chickens because I can see they live the chicken life

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