We met as market garden apprentices at Daylesford Organics in the Cotswolds in the spring of 2017.
We set up Wellspring Farm in the winter of 2018 on rented land, coming to Devon on the weekends to clear the land and build infrastructure. We moved to Devon and officially started farming here in April 2019.
Our hope for the future is to buy our own piece of land. We have big dreams of increasing our growing area to 1 acre, establishing an orchard and food forest, establishing wildflower meadows and growing heritage grains. We also hope that the farm can one day become a hub of community engagement, participation and education.
We chose the minimum tillage / no dig method because we believe that soil health is fundamental to human health. By nurturing our soil, building organic matter and encouraging soil biological activity to flourish, we can grow food that is nutrient dense and delicious.
Because of our size, we focus on making every inch count. This means growing intensively, spacing plants closely and practicing companion planting. We grow our food crops alongside flowers to create mixed habitats and food for birds and pollinators.
We grow on permanent beds and disturb the soil as little as possible, choosing to keep living roots in the soil as much as we can and apply biodegradable mulches like homemade compost, straw and green manures such as phacelia, rye grass and buckwheat.
We don’t use any chemicals and only use hand tools. By not inverting the soil we preserve its natural structure and aeration and maintain the networks of beneficial microbes, organisms and fungi. By not using machinery we also don’t have to wait so long for the soil to dry up in the spring, giving us a headstart in accessing the land and planting earlier in the season.
As our land size increases in the future, we hope to develop our use of green manures and growing mulches in place, reducing our reliance of bought-in inputs like green waste and creating more of a closed loop system. We also hope to save more of our own seed in the future, helping us to grow generations of crops that are suited to our local conditions and more resilient to the unpredictability and challenges of the climate crisis