Mountain View Farm
The Blue Ridge Center supports sustainable farming practices by hosting an independently-operated organic farm on our land. Mountain View Farm is the historical name of the dairy operation that once sustained generations of farm families on this land. Today, Mountain View Farm serves as an important laboratory and classroom for exploring the interrelationships between food cultivation and the ecological values central to our mission.
The resident farmers since 2005 are Attila Agoston and Shawna DeWitt. Their market garden and livestock operation demonstrates that food cultivation can be, and must be, done in harmony with nature. A brief description of the sustainable farming techniques is below. Learn more about Mountain View Farms' operations, including Farmer's Market schedules and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) opportunities by visiting the website.
Farming technique overview
The climate of the western Virginia Piedmont favors the growth of a wide variety of productive, high-quality grasses and legumes. This provides a wonderful home for our animals, including cows, pigs, and chickens.
At Mountain View Farm we pay particular attention to the health of our soil. We utilize many of the cultural practices common in organic vegetable production: crop rotation, cover cropping, on farm composting. We believe healthy soils lead to healthy food and healthy people. All of our produce is grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
We raise our animals on natural pasture in an integrated, rotational system. The system simulates the movement of wild herds that used to graze an area and then move on when the grasses were depleted, not returning for weeks or months. This process of grazing and regrowth encourages the development of rich soils, maintains the vigor of the grasses, and increases the diversity of grass species. In addition, interspecies grazing on the same pasture decreases the risk of parasites and other potential health problems.
It is not just the animals that benefit from living on pasture. Grasses, broad-leaved forbs and legumes provide a tremendous amount of nutrition that in turn becomes available to humans through animal products. Studies have shown that meat and eggs from animals that range on pasture have higher amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLAs) as compared to those raised in a confinement setting.