DelNature opens new market, Ag Education BuildingJul 29, 2021 01:12PM ● By Tricia Hoadley
The Delaware Nature Society (DelNature) was joined by Delaware agriculture secretary Michael T. Scuse and National Wildlife Federation president and chief executive officer Collin O’Mara to launch the new Market at Coverdale Farm Preserve and Agriculture Education Building, and celebrate climate-friendly regenerative farm techniques.
Closed for the past year due to COVID, Coverdale re-opened this spring offering a new market, family-friendly farm activities and education classes. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the new market is a natural extension of the Coverdale Farm Preserve’s work to grow and offer fresh foods to the local community. Patrons can select vegetables, eggs, herbs, and flowers fresh from our farm and cheese, bread, honey, meat and much more from local and regional partners. Coverdale even offers farm grown vegetable, flower, herb, and fruit plants for the home garden.
Or people can participate in the new Golden Tomato Program, a flexible card-based community supported agriculture program where patrons can choose their own produce.
"We are so pleased to launch this new Market in our Agriculture Education Building while highlighting how protecting the environment and farming techniques go hand in hand,” said DelNature executive director Anne Harper. “We are grateful for Secretary Scuse joining us today and the chance to shine a light on regenerative agriculture techniques.”
“Through the ability to visit a working farm like Coverdale, the public can connect with where their food is grown. It is a fantastic opportunity for a child to have a hands-on experience to understand how fruits, vegetables, meats, and fiber are produced. That experience can spark a child’s interest in agriculture that can lead to a future career,” said Delaware secretary of agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “And it’s the understanding that farmers care about the environment because good stewardship ensures that future generations have locally grown food to feed their families.”
A highlight of Coverdale’s work is its commitment to regenerative agriculture techniques which mimic natural processes to minimize soil disturbance and build soil health above and below ground, maintain living roots year-round, maximize crop diversity and on-farm bio-diversity, integrate lifestock employing intentional grazing, and eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals.
“The Coverdale Farm Preserve is a shining example of how regenerative agriculture can simultaneously produce healthy crops, build resilient soils, provide clean water, restore essential wildlife habitat, and naturally sequester carbon,” said National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Collin O’Mara. “We encourage every Delawarean and Pennsylvanian to visit Coverdale to learn directly from the Delaware Nature Society’s amazing team about how agricultural best practices are critical natural climate solutions.”
Regenerative techniques are more climate-friendly, and focus on helping to protect the soil and water while growing crops and maintaining livestock. Regenerative agriculture can also help with carbon sequestration by building organic matter back into soil, essentially helping to store more water and draw carbon out of the atmosphere.
“We are proud to be a site that can model the difficult balance between feeding our community and nurturing the environment, said Coverdale Farm site director Michele Wales. “As Farmers our environmental literacy is equally important as our livestock and vegetable literacy. We are learning as we are doing, and our studies will never be complete. The important thing to understand for everyone engaged in agriculture is-despite the learning curve-there are very simple and approachable ways to integrate some of the regenerative methodologies today, and there is funding to help us do it. The support from the local and national agencies to make this a priority are just the lift we need to contribute to tackling the important environmental issues of our time.”
DelNature believes that everyone has a right to healthy food, healthy communities, and a healthy environment. Regenerative Agriculture upholds these three rights while distinguishing itself as a method of farming that moves beyond simply being sustainable. The farm is an ecosystem working with nature, not against it. RA diversifies its outcomes beyond economic gains and high yields to include the restoration of high-quality soil, water, air, and ecosystems, along with healthy animals and people. It is a place-based customized approach where the land leads.
“Coverdale Farm Preserve has long been a destination for the local community and region,” said State Sen. Laura Sturgeon. “Today we celebrate the farm’s evolution over the past few years and shine a light on the importance of biodiversity and protecting our water supply.”
Adding State Representative Krista Griffith “It’s exciting to see how climate-friendly farming is being implemented in northern New Castle County. The farms' education and outreach programs are important steps in connecting farming techniques with the general public.”
The 377-acre property in Greenville, Del. is comprised of a 177-acre working farm and 200-acre nature preserve. The property has been a working farm for nearly 300 years. The new Agriculture Education Building is Phase 1 of DelNature's multi-year plan to become a leader in the demonstration and education of regenerative agriculture. The farm is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to the Market, Coverdale offers classes, and farm-focused fun activities like egg gathering, plus arts and crafts. To learn more visit: www.DelNature.org.