Helen Atthowe, Missoula County Extension Agent (Missoula, Montana) talks about the farming techniques she used near Stevensville, Montana. She calls it "Conservation Farming".
Helen is well known in the Missoula area, not just as the Missoula county extension agent, but also as one of the most popular vendors at the Missoula farmers Market / Missoula Saturday market.
"The goal of our conservation farming is to increase farm profitability by decreasing labor and land requirements while striving to mimic the ecological principles that make native plant systems sustainable. The ecological principles we hope to mimic include reduced tillalge, increase species and genetic diversity, closed nutrient cycles, and creation of more diverse habitat. We look at our farm from a landscape or watershed level and hope to reconnect wild areas, agriculture and urban areas. Conservation agriculture is both biologically and socially a local agriculture."
"We're trying to develop an agriculture system, in this case a vegetable production system, that sponsors its own fertility."
Biological pest management: ".. mimic from a natural system is to sponsor our own pest control." "We're creating habitat for beneficial insects, parasites and predators ..."
"We are trying to provide habitat for birds, and pollinator insects and for other mammals that may be in the system. We're trying to create a link between natural systems and agricultural systems."
Includes footage of an all native hedgerow.
Helen talks about issues with voles and how the voles attracted snakes, coyotes and foxes.
music by Jimmy Pardo