“I spent most of my childhood traveling,” says Megan Naylor, owner of Wild Mountain Farm, a small biodynamic farm in Barnardsville. “It gave me a great perspective on cultures, but as a young adult, I had a deep need to ground myself, get to know one piece of land and grow food.”
So Naylor settled down on a 6-acre homestead and started a farm. When she first moved onto her land “our property was almost over the roof with brush and weeds,” she said. “Our goats cleared the property, then we put chickens in behind them, and they scattered the manure from the goats.” Now in its third season, the farm has grass growing, wildflowers and honeybees in addition to chickens, goats, donkeys, cattle, horses and ducks. “It isn’t about bringing a bunch of stuff in,” explains Naylor. “It is about using what we already have.”
As a biodynamic farmer, Naylor embraces a holistic and ethical closed-loop system. “We produce as much as possible on our farm to feed our own animals and feed the soil,” she explains. “Not only for the benefit of feeding our family and the community, but also for the health of the soil and the animals,” explains Naylor. “The idea is to live in harmony with your own property and the land instead of continuously taking from it.”
Naylor advises anyone interested in biodynamic farming to ask a lot of questions and take it slow. “It’s easy to get excited and want to build Noah’s Ark and get two of everything,” she says. “There are certain animals that are much more labor-intensive. Goats require a lot more work than chickens,” Naylor explains.
Overall, she tells people to start small. “Even if it’s just a potted plant on your front porch, there are ways that everyone can be involved.”
Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.