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Farm as One Family

We sometimes forget the key word of agriculture is "culture" -- the myriad of learned experiences unique to countless societies around the planet. We share our humanity through dance, music and art, but we must also share it by working together for the development of plants, animals, and food.

To help toward this end, we recently hosted our first ever international farmer here at Jester King named Luke Barbuto. Luke is an alumnus of the esteemed homesteading institute in Victoria, Australia called Milkwood. Milkwood is headed by Kristen Bradley and Nick Ritar (hugs and kisses to you both), and teaches vital skills on permaculture. Their ability to persevere through drought conditions and their understanding of healthy soil are crucial to us here in central Texas. Thanks to Milkwood, we got hooked up with Luke, who worked with us here at Jester King this summer/fall at our farm.

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With Luke on the ground, we immediately started combining ideas from Australia and Texas for combatting drought and building healthy soil. Both our nations have land that has experienced heavy grazing over the years, and is in need of intensive rebirth of the soil structure to prevent desertification. Desertification is the process by which land loses its fertility and subsequently cannot hold moisture, thus becoming an arid desert.

Fortunately, this can be combatted through the capture and circulation of rainwater, partnered with holistic animal grazing. With Luke's help, we have begun the process of installing berm and swale networks throughout Jester King. Over time, the networks will slow down our aggressive Texas precipitations by directing rainfall to a series of pocket ponds. In theory, these water collection systems will rebirth the native prairie grasses providing fodder for our goats and future rabbits. From these healthy landscapes, we'll continue to plant our orchards, vineyards, and other perennial fruiting species for our fermentation and food programs.

Our time working with Luke was inspiring to say the least. Hope lies in working together as one family, one race, one people to repair the damage of the past. Any farm would be all so lucky to have Mr. Barbuto a part of their team. His work ethic, passion, and ability to manage a crew are uncanny. We loved having him take part in our vision, and he knows there is always a place here for him to return to. We miss you Lukey-boy, have a good one down under, mate!

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