Leafhopper Farm is nestles in the foothills of the Central Cascades in Western Washington.
The landscape is mostly south facing with gentle tiered slop down to Weiss Creek, a spring fed, salmon bearing stream which flows through our local SnoValley Tilth farm land on its way to The Snoqualmie River.
This farm spent its first year, 2013, under careful observation. Water, sunlight, and soil was measured, mapped, and tracked. Permaculture design was slowly formulated by a professional in house resident who has taught PDC classes. Having the designer living on site is a real treat and I would highly recommend this luxury if you can when designing, as there is nothing quite like spending time on the landscape you intend to work with.
Implementation began in the spring of 2014, with the start of a kitchen garden and later on in the summer, the earthworks projects.
The farm has another wonderful connection with some large earth works operators who brought in their machines to help scrape certain features into the landscape for maximization of water collection and cultivation on contour.
Severe drought in 2015 was an opportunity to test the land and its new water features. The pond never dried up, and our well held a strong flow. May such abundance continue! Again in 2017, the summer brought little rain and broke records with 56 days of drought. The farm has held with a strong well and good water catchment systems which delivered the heavy rains of winter (also record breaking) into the soil for our young plants.
Leafhopper Farm is also a proud participant in our local farm management plan led by King Conservation District <http://kingcd.org/>. We’ve applied for a salmon bearing stream buffer grant to help us fence and plant our riparian zones along Weiss Creek. The farm plan on expanding planting of native plants with a focus on food, medicinal, and material species. The development of native habitat bridges our human needs with those of the natural world (those needs are one and the same).
By year 5 of our little farm’s journey, we’ve been listed in our local tilth’s farm guide. We’ve also now got a YouTube channel <https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwNWKRN1JJntOPX4DcHjh8w> Liz, the farm owner, shares insight into different systems at Leafhopper, as well as tricks and learning curves she’s experienced in her first five years of stewarding land.
Leafhopper Farm has made a conscious shift towards small demonstration permaculture techniques with a focus on single person holistically managed systems ranging from livestock to native plant restoration. The farm is moving away from commercial production, but plans to continue offering classes and tours on the landscape.
Naming the Farm
by Liz Crain, owner and operator of Leafhopper Farm
When I began my journey into nature connection, I worked with home-schoolers at a, outdoor school in southern Vermont. One of the first ceremonies in welcoming me to the community was receiving a nature name. Leafhopper was unfamiliar to me, but I was assured that the colorful little bug would be a perfect fit. I learned that a leafhopper feeds on grass milk, hopping great distanced from stem to stem with wonderful exuberance. They also come in very bright colors, offering incredible variety in their small form. I find that the insect world is sadly neglected, set aside for more relatable species like mammals or even reptiles and amphibians.
Dr. Edward O. Willson tells us to keep looking at the smaller aspects of nature to better understand what makes the world come alive more fully. Indeed, with the help of Leafhopper, I began looking deeper into the natural world, discovering how important insects are to the food chain and ecosystem. Bugs led me to mushrooms, likens, and more awareness about harsh chemicals and how sensitive the environment is to pollution.
When I first arrived on the land that is now our farm, a leafhopper landed on my hand as I drove into the property for the first time. I knew then that I was home, that my nature name was still deeply connected to my work, and that the farm would embrace the more obscure little insect to help promote awareness of the important small worlds that offer so much diversity to the greater picture.
On the symbol at the top of this page, you’ll find a leafhopper splayed in its leap across the field. Its body makes up a sprout and spiral, two powerful symbols of generation and growth. In the six legs of this little critter, you see Weiss creek flowing through and our beautiful bridge spanning the waters. Bridging is a theme at the farm, a place which connects human growth and habitation with nature and wildness. Our land’s location is at the edge of settled King County, outside Seattle. We are perched on the edge of the Cascade foothills, inviting visitors to look just past the sleepy town of Duvall, to the mountains beyond.