Permaculture Farming in Wells County
Caleb Fiechter is young farmer in a family that has been farming land in Wells County for four generations. Yet, Caleb is not your typical fourth generation farmer. With bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish from Anderson University (Anderson, IN) he has been working for the last 2 years as a community outreach coordinator with United Way of Madison County. This summer he returned to Wells County to begin farming on a 10 acre homestead where he strives to employ Permaculture techniques: a method of agriculture that works to not only sustain, but regenerate ecosystems. More specifically, Permaculture is agriculture that uses consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature while yielding an abundance of food, fiber and energy for provision of local needs. Permaculture works in cooperation with nature rather than imposing function and mining resources from it, which is the normal case in industrial agriculture.
“I was drawn to Permaculture because I was exhausted from talking about the bad things in our world and I wanted real solutions to improve it.” Caleb says. “The label is less important than the guiding principle: reduce waste and integrate all elements of the system. Nature works. We have to stop living like cowboys in a finite world. We can create food systems that build soil, detoxify the atmosphere, last for millennia and produce healthy, vibrant food and communities. I’m excited to build that world with my family and friends.”
Caleb grew up on a conventional farm and has been studying Permaculture for several years while in college. He also interned with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm for a growing season. He will begin his formal training with a Permaculture Design Course later this summer in Vermont through Whole Systems Design (wholesystemsdesign.com). Caleb intends to start small with a seven acre plot and learn by applying and improving techniques through what he describes as, “trial and plenty of error”. He is currently fixing up his new farm home with his wife and family.
Caleb’s future plans are to work throughout the summer and fall to build up his farm infrastructure. He hopes to learn and collaborate with others in the area and intends to start his first growing season in spring of 2014. If you are a fellow Permaculturist or would like to learn more about Permaculture and Caleb's efforts to bring it to Indiana, you may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by: Dick Sprague SI2016 Regional Coordinator, Anderson