On the farm, they work to ensure the creek that runs through their property is conserved by creating healthy riparian areas around the flowing water. Aquatic life is protected, wildlife can seek refuge, and the forest remains untouched as a source of carbon capture. Protecting the biodiversity of the forest on their farm is a big priority. They mimic the natural world with their intercropping approach to crop planning. They plant crops side by side that compliment each other, for example, tomatoes and basil, utilizing more space in between rows and eliminating bare soil. They have noticed greater pollinator activity in their rows since adopting this practice. Sasche says, “There is diversity in this but it also gives you some resilience as well. When a crisis comes, and we’re all going through many crises right now, this [crop diversity] gives you something to fall back on.”
The orchard trees are set up as windbreaks and resting places for travelling birds. These trees help retain moisture and prevent erosion. They add plants with deep tap roots to the base of the trees to help break up compact soil so that the tree roots can better establish themselves. Sachse says, “They help loosen up the ground for the tree root to spread out, anchor themselves, and access moisture, soaking up water during heavy rains.” The comfrey and horseradish at the base of each tree provide beneficial nutrients to the tree roots.
Sachse admits they have an interesting property to work with, dealing with sloping and microclimates. They take careful consideration in their approach and utilize what nature provides. “It’s better to look at the land and figure out what will fit rather than the other way around. There is no reason to force the land into something,” says Sachse. In addition to their natural approach to farming, they operate as a no-till, compost on-site, reduce their energy use with a passive solar greenhouse, and utilize old supplies such as a repurposed septic tank converted into a shed for equipment storage. These farmers continue to build healthy ecosystems on their farm by planting for diversity, protecting and enhancing their natural farmscape.