Sustainability

Cultivating Organic Food, Communities, and Farmers

Sustainability

Sustainable methods are at the heart of our farm. To us, sustainability means not only integrated plant and animal practices but financial and community systems too.

Here are some of the ways, we implement sustainability

Waste

Farmers who make compost or feed livestock (e.g., chickens, pigs) need food waste. Help make it easier: tell elected officials to deliver food waste to farmers, not landfill.

  • Pick up spent grain weekly to feed livestock, use in compost piles
  • For years we picked up organic scraps at Whole Foods Warehouse to feed our livestock and compost piles; however, our we need help with our food waste efforts. Our vans are usually busy delivering food to customers so it’s difficult to gather waste. (Currently seeking Composting Workshare Members, preferably with a van or wagon)
  • Vegetables with imperfections (called “seconds”) are given to volunteers in appreciation of their efforts.

Repurposing

Everyone has far too much stuff so we take pleasure in repurposing what others toss. Our dumpster diving has become a fine art:

  • SXSW banners become signs, sunshades for livestock and tarps for equipment
  • Truck pop top becomes airy housing for Guinea Hogs
  • Egg cartons and shopping bags are donated each week by customers
  • Children’s Garden décor is comprised of spools and stumps (in lieu of picnic tables); wood scraps became our Magic Treehouse.
Water

To make our operations as water and energy efficient as possible, we:

  • Save and sell seed that is drought-tolerant
  • Use drip irrigation technology so water is used as efficiently as possible
  • Apply donated leaves, wood chips as mulch
  • Opt not to plant certain crops when water is scarce

Invest in certified organic paper mulch

  • Divert greywater, used to wash vegetables, into herb garden
  • Rainwater is collected from the barn roof and stored in 100-year-old cisterns constructed by the Swedes who started this farm. (We’d love to harvest rainwater at our farm stand, but the shed roof is not strong enough.)
  • Use shade cloth to lower soil temperatures
Energy
  • We love our solar oven. No more hot kitchens. Get one!
  • Constructed solar-powered pump for our well (we want all systems to be solar powered. Let us know of any grants that will help us do this.)
Buildings

Friends, please notify us whenever you’ve got yummy junk – tables, chairs, tools, rubber bands, (see our Wishlist). In addition:

  • Skip gathered bricks (1,000s of them) to create floors in farm stand and processing area of the barn.
  • Walk-in cooler was constructed from one a farmer no longer needed
  • Architects for Humanity is constructing a storage shed using earthbags. Come help and learn about this innovative, affordable building method.
  • Be sure to visit our neighbor around the corner on FM 969 – the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems – to see their off-the-grid sustainable buildings.
Community

Folks are encouraged to use the farm for new purposes: Yoga in the hayloft, birthday parties, art classes, movie nights, cooking demonstrations. The farm is more than food, it is here to foster and sustain relationships.

Goals
  • Composting or Solarloo toilet (instead of spending $85/month on a chemically-treated outhouse)
  • All solar systems
  • Regular deliveries of food waste and wood chips to all area certified organic farms

Contact Us

Green Gate Farms
8310 Canoga Ave
Austin, TX 78724

Email: info@greengatefarms.net
Phone: 512-484-2746