Please join us for a Workshop on Habitat Farming facilitated by Jean-Paul Stewart-Courtens, Conrad Vispo, and Claudia Knab-Vispo at the Biodynamic Conference at Lake George on Friday, Nov. 22, 1:30-3pm.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, farms provide habitats for wild organisms. Some of these organisms have apparent agronomic roles as so-called pests and beneficials. Others have little immediate interaction with farm production but are part of a region’s "ark of biodiversity." Roles shift depending on farm crops, farming techniques, climate, landscape, and the like. Based on 10 years of looking at these relationships in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York, this workshop will pose a series of questions regarding farming and biodiversity such as: What are our goals, and how do we measure them? Are the terms "pest" and "beneficial" stereotypes? Habitat management: does one "size" fit all in terms of creating habitat to support beneficials and biodiversity? Is the farm scale the most important scale for managing these creatures? And hw far can we go in creating a biologically-diverse, agroecologically-supportive context for a farm without public/consumer involvement? During the workshop, we will pose these questions, use information from our own experiences to explain why we think they’re important, and then invite discussion. We hope the results of the workshop will help participants think a bit differently about non-crop life on farms and will help us all better understand what sorts of habitat management might be most effective for beneficials and biodiversity in general.