ACRES at Dancing Star Farm

Water Bar
The water bar at Dancing Star Farm, which is a part of their ACRES project. It will direct between 30 and 40 thousand gallons of annual rainwater to the dam on their property. Photo credit: Dancing Star Farm.

Many of you may already know Ryan Blosser, the executive director of Project GROWS, but did you know that he also has his own permaculture farm? He and his wife Joy own Dancing Star Farm. I met with Ryan to learn more about the farm and their ACRES grant project.

Their Story

Ryan and Joy Blosser’s homestead grew into Dancing Star Farm in 2010. It was originally a collective between four friends. In 2013, when each of the friends’ lives were moving in different directions, Ryan and Joy purchased the farm. They’ve been operating with the simple mission of producing handcrafted mixed vegetables for local consumers ever since.

Dancing Star Farms has sold their produce at farmers markets, but they also have a CSA program. Additionally, Ryan said that they sell wholesale locally, including to local restaurants.

Fungi Workshop
Participants of a fungi and permaculture workshop learned a lot while helping Dancing Star Farm complete the final phase of their project. Photo credit: Shenandoah Permaculture Institute.

In addition to growing wholesome food, Dancing Star Farm is also an educational farm. Anyone can learn about permaculture design by touring the farm with Ryan. Additionally, Ryan works with the Shenandoah Permaculture Institute and hosts their workshops on his own farm.

The ACRES Grant

The ACRES grant was awarded to Dancing Star Farm for an earthworks project with the overall goal of sinking, slowing, and spreading water while improving water quality. The earthworks project optimizes the farm irrigation system and filters the water that passes through the farm.

The project included creating a water bar along the driveway, building a dam that functions to release clean water as a contour spillway, constructing a holding pond, and implementing mycoremediation. Ryan says that he used permaculture design to stack as many functions as possible into one project. Using permaculture Ryan has designed a system which leaves the water cleaner as it exits his property, regardless of whether he or someone else tainted it. His design will also help recharge the aquifer.

This project has not only targeted water quality and conservation, but it has also expanded Dancing Star Farm’s farmable land. Ryan has been able to plant garlic on the dam which will be ready for harvest in June. Additionally, since there was extra earth at the end of his project, Ryan had the soil moved to the back of his property where he plans to plant fruit trees.

What to Expect

Workshop
Workshop participants at Dancing Star Farm. Photo credit: Dancing Star Farm.

In the future Ryan hopes to continue growing his farm infrastructure. Among his other goals, Ryan said he plans for the farm to be certified natural this year and certified organic by 2018. Ryan will continue his commitment to crafting ecologically grown vegetables and engaging the community with his farm.

How to Contact Them

If you would like to get in touch with Dancing Star Farm, you can use their contact form on their website. To stay up to date with all of the happenings at Dancing Star Farm, you can also like their Facebook page.

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