Eat Fresh and Local from our Human Powered Farm in Old Lyme, Connecticut
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About Upper Pond Farm
Upper Pond is a sustainable vegetable farm on Sill Lane in Old Lyme, and on Beaver Brook Road in Lyme, Connecticut. We believe in growing fresh, healthy food for our community, free of pesticides and herbicides. We grow edible flowers, microgreens, fresh seasonal vegetables, small fruits and bees on our six acre plot of land adjacent to Upper Mill Pond, and on our 5 acre plot located at New Mercies Farm in Lyme.
At Upper Pond Farm we use ecologically based agricultural practices to manage our landscape holistically. Improving soil health and structure, along with enhancing biodiversity is a top priority. The majority of work is done by human power, providing jobs and experience to people rather than tractors. We use tractor or rototiller power for some jobs that are too large for human power, like mowing our 4 acres of meadow seasonally.
Upper Pond Farm focuses on growing fresh annual vegetables, edible flowers, Microgreens, fruits and herbs for local markets, especially Lyme-Old Lyme’s community. Upper Pond Farm recycles nutrients, encouraging composting on and off farm, to divert landfill waste, reduces purchased inputs and builds resilient systems. Upper Pond Farm uses preventative methods, building systems that are plant positive to avoid synthetic chemical treatment of disease and pests.
Upper Pond Farm is highly invested in Lyme-Old Lyme's community. We feed our community directly. We also sustain our community by providing the opportunity to connect with the earth and food system.
When we refer to Upper Pond Farm as a "human-powered farm" we are stating that instead of using fossil fueled or electric tractors, we use people as our source of traction power. We love human power because we enjoy farming alongside as many other farmers as possible. We love hearing bird songs and smelling the natural farm environment. We believe in using our bodies and tools to work the soil sustainably.
Fossil fuel power is used less than horse power and human power at Upper Pond Farm. We use a walk behind tractor for certain bed prep jobs, and turnour compost with a tractor.
What other traction sources does Upper Pond Farm use?
When we have a big plowing job to be done, we call on our friends with draft animals. They use horses to plough and disk our fields. We maintain our beds with mainly human power after an initial horse powered plowing.
What other farms use human power?
The Market Gardener in Ontario, Canada :http://www.themarketgardener.com/
Half Pint Farm in Burlington, VT
Upper Pond Farm is located on Sill Lane in Old Lyme. We grow produce
and fruits on 5 acres of land bordering Mill Brook and Upper Mill Pond. Our land
has been farmed for well over 165 years and, in addition to farming, was once the site of several water-powered mills, part of the early industry in Lyme/Old Lyme.
In the 1600’s a gristmill was in operation here and later a paper mill, iron mill,
sawmill, and other small mills were added. Oliver Lay, for whom the Laysville
area is named, operated a woolen mill in the large granite building just across from our farm. The picturesque mill and dam, believed to be built in 1702, can be seen from Sill Lane just near the entrance to our farm.
Most recently, our small acreage was part of a 120 acre dairy farm owned by John and Jessie Roberts, whose farm included the land now owned by High Hopes, the Senior Center and Town Woods Park.
We are proud to continue the long tradition of farming this rich land and hope you
will take the opportunity to enjoy our fresh, local produce we supply to our community.
A history of our growing area at New Mercies will be available soon.
Baylee Rose Drown was raised on her families' Holestine dairy farm in Michigan. She earned a Bachelors of Science from MIchigan State Universities' College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2009.
Baylee picked up the organic farming bug in Vermont, where she worked at Green Mountain College's diversified farm from 2009-2013. During Baylee's time at Green Mountain she qualified the farm as Animal Welfare Approval and was active in the greater community by serving as a board member for the Stone Valley Food Coop. Baylee earned her Masters of Science in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in 2014, as she was incorporating Upper Pond Farm as an LLC and turning the soil in Old Lyme for the first time.
Baylee loves feeding people and being really tired and dirty at the end of a workday. She also loves to teach, hike, fish, brew beer and bake.
.Ryan Quinn, known as “Quinn”, earned his BS in Biology and MA degree in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is transitioning from part time to full time farming, and taking on leadership rolls at the farm. He has a rich and diverse background as a chemistry teacher, farmer, outdoor educator, carpenter, handyman and even as Chief Steward aboard the Kalmar Nyckel, a tall ship sailing out of Wilmington DE.
At the farm Quinn loves finding the most efficient way to do everything. He is constantly innovating and driving the farm forward with projects like growing peanuts and tea. He is responsible for maintenance and infrastructure development. He keeps everyone smiling with his sense of humor and camaraderie.
Brendan McGuire was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, but has lived in Farmington, Maine since he was four and considers it his hometown. His enthusiasm for farming and gardening stems from a lifelong interest in plants, animals, and natural systems, coupled with a strong interest on personal and community level self-sufficiency.
Brendan has had experience in a wide variety of agricultural pursuits, from vegetable production to dairying to beekeeping (his favorite!). He worked and volunteered at Green Mountain College’s Cerridwen Farm for three years before graduation, as well as working on several other small farms in Maine and Vermont, and he was a summer intern at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri during the summer of 2013. Brendan graduated from Green Mountain College in May 2014 with a double major in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Production and Environmental Studies, and joined the staff at Upper Pond Farm immediately afterwards. In addition to his agricultural experience, Brendan’s skills include foraging, construction, and folk music.
It didn’t take Brendan long to fall in love with the farm and the Old Lyme area. He was an apprentice at Upper Pond Farm for the entire 2014 growing season, serving as the resident beekeeper and seed saver as well as taking part in all kinds of vegetable chores. He is excited to be returning for a second season as a farmhand in 2015!
Farmer Maria hails from down south. She came north by way of an organization called Three Diva's Dog Rescue. Kristin, one of the Divas' and her foster mom, helped her raise 14 fabulous puppies in Fair Haven, Vermont. Maria and her pups had their 2nd annual birthday party/family reunion last August.
Maria's job is to keep the farm free of vermin and geese. She welcomes human visitors with a smile and wag, and will power lean in for a hug and pets. She is great with kids of all ages. She has worked as a therapy dog in the past, and Baylee is being trained to take her into more situations where she can be petted while brightening everyone's day.