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 scape certain features into the landscape for maximization of water collection and cultivation on contour.
A full year later, in the spring of 2015, the earthworks projects began capturing water and altering the landscape. New habitat formed, supporting a growing diversity of wildlife. This is an important mission of Leafhopper Farm, the cultivation and restoration of native habitat across the landscape.
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! With confidence in our water, the farm can now expand gardens, bring in a few smaller cisterns, and work towards providing enough produce to join a local cooperative CSA.
More adventures in 2015 included a flock of home grown meat birds, and a hoop house, both pictured together above. The chicken tractor enclosing the young birds moved around the yard fertilizing the soil, removing pests, and growing fat hens off the land. Our hoop house served through a hot summer, but came down in the fall before record breaking 70mph gales visited in November.
Leafhopper Farm continues to develop; our goal for 2016 is a market harvest, meaning continual produce and fruit through three seasons, and continued work on implementing the ever evolving permaculture design, on contour, and in community.
Naming the Farm:
When I began my journey into nature connection, I worked with homeschoolers at a, outdoor school in souther 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.