Oklahoma couple uses polyculture to grow sustainable farm on the lake

“All of our neighbors thought we were crazy because they all bought a house to be on the lake. We bought a house to be on a lake and have a farm.”

A backyard farming operation on the shore of Lake Hudson is just the way Stephen and Tammi Bell of Pryor said they like it. The couple established Waterline Farms with the goal of using sustainable methods free of chemicals to grow their own fruits, nuts, and vegetables using permaculture techniques.

“We have an underlying purpose of maintaining and developing habitat for wildlife such as birds, deer, pollinators, and our resident eagle,” Stephen said. “Recently, we were awarded two grants from the Oklahoma forestry department to create a riparian buffer, establish windbreaks and provide forage and refuge for wildlife.”

The goal is to use regenerative agriculture to add and sustain biomass in the soil. Waterline Farms is a member of the Soil for Water program through the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The goal of the program is to make land more resilient to catch and hold water in the soil and serve as a habitat for birds and other wildlife.

“We do not mow our grass within 100 feet of the shore,” Stephen said. “This has allowed deep-rooted native perennial plants to grow.”

The Soil for Water Network is comprised of 92 U.S. family farms united with a common goal to increase soil water retention. Stephen and Tammi have been members since January and were one of the first farms registered in the state of Oklahoma.

Read the complete article at www.enidnews.com.

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