Milk and Honey Meadows Farm, an 18-acre family run farm based out of Lakewood, NJ. The farm raises dairy goats, sheep, and also grows their own organic vegetables. The farm relies on honeybees, native bees, and other insects for pollination and employs pollinator-friendly practices where possible, including leaving field borders unmowed, planting annuals with excess pollen, and employing beneficial insects for crop protection. They currently have one active beehive on the farm.
In 2015 Milk and Honey Meadows Farm received a $4,363 grant to expand its apiary by six hives, establish a pollinator habitat, and build a beehive observatory to facilitate on-farm classes educating on pollinator importance.
Hives and Pollination
“The hives have been doing well, building up in size and honey and pollen stores to last through winter,” notes Gila Wachman, farmer and owner of Milk and Honey Meadows Farm. “We don’t plan on harvesting honey this year so that our hives have the best chance to get through winter. Serial plantings of annual sources of nectar and pollen such as buckwheat, sunflowers, and other flowers were made in the late spring and throughout the summer. These plantings have been swarming with happy pollinators.
We have given approximately 20 tours over the summer, serving close to 600 children. We continue to sell direct from the farm at below retail prices and feel fortunate to be able to continue our practice of distributing hundreds of pounds of top quality organic produce for free to local low-income families”.
The initial outcome of the grant has been to increase the pollinator population of the farm and it’s surrounding neighborhood. This has also had the knockon effect of increasing and diversifying the pollinator habitat of the farm. The farm has also been able to expand their outreach work from educating local children, to low-income families by accepting SNAP in 2016.
Future For Milk & Honey Meadows Farm
The effects of their grant will have a long-term positive impact on our farm. They are continuing to expand their outreach to low-income families. This year they will be providing vegetable plants that can be purchased with SNAP benefits, allowing families to become more self-sufficient. They are also continuing to expand their pollinator habitat and hoping to add more Linden trees, witch hazel and other species over the next few years.
Speaking to potential future grant winners, Milk & Honey Meadows advised building a project around the greater community, not just your own farm.