Graham, Mindy, and a fluffy friend at Bare Hands Farm
by: Katie Writer – KTNA
When Talkeetna residents think of what goes on at the Grove, they often think of live music, community gatherings, and micro-greens. This past year, owners Mindy and Graham Knapp have added to the Bare Hands Farm.
KTNA’s Katie Writer took a walk around the property with Graham and Mindy.
Graham and Mindy’s long-term vision of creating a permaculture environment is taking shape in Talkeetna. Permaculture is the attempt to assimilate or utilize the patterns and features of nature in agriculture.
Graham and Mindy are using the land in a manner that best suits the lay of the land as well and the natural resources available.
There are a lot of steps to building upon visions and ideas. Yet, with each effort put forth, there is a lot of satisfaction in planting and digging in the earth. Graham has dug trenches and filled them with dead trees that will in the long run hold water as well as add nutrients to the soil.
At Bare Hands Farm, the animals require considerable time and care. In return, they offer milk, eggs, and meat. One of the greatest commodities from raising pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, and rabbits is often overlooked: Fertilizer…the ripe but necessary ingredient to farming.
In addition, Graham is excited about other benefits from the grazing and ground compaction from their pigs and goats.
“So, we had our pigs down in this little depression on our property. We had learned of a technique where you can put pigs or ducks in an area, and they will [compact it].”
Pigs seem to have the most personality and Gretel, who was just a wee little piglet is now nurturing her nine piglets. When she was a single pig, she made her way into the chicken pen.
“All the animals get along pretty well. The chickens and the ducks live together…Gretel was by herself for a lot of the winter, and she would nose her way into the chickens, through the chicken wire. The chickens would come and hang out with Gretel, and I thought ‘Oh my gosh, the pig is going to eat the chickens,’ but I think she just wanted the company.”
The other main product on Bare Hands Farm is micro-greens. They offer CSA Farm Shares with their greens.
“It’s really nice being here in the middle of the winter, and there’s things growing, but I’m really actually anxious to turn the lights of and put them in the sun to get some of that free energy…I started a CSA microgreens program this winter, and it’s gone really well. I have just enough customers, and I’ll be able to take on a lot more since I have more room outside, of course.”
When we stepped into the micro-green growing room, two things stuck out in my mind. There was a peacefulness in viewing vibrant plants in comparison to the rowdy farm yard. The plants, unlike the pigs, don’t knock over their water. Also, the greens are an easy meal in comparison to milking a goat.