​restoring the land & the people


Here at the Flying J Farm, we believe that sustainability begins with human health. "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything", Count Rugan, The Princess Bride. We know that human health is sustained best by a plant-based diet. On the other hand, we also know that every person has been designed uniquely and therefore needs to be sustained somewhat uniquely (e.g., some have allergies to otherwise healthy food). Therefore, we are not totally into a one-diet fits all model. However, for most people, a plant-based diet is the way to reduce their chance for getting the "diseases of affluence": heart, cancer, diabetes. Therefore, we are happy to offer fruits and vegetables grown here at the farm for the sustainability of your health. We also believe that grass-fed, and grass-finished beef, maple syrup, flour, and eggs are ok on occasion as well and we offer these to our interns, friends and customers.
Second we believe that we humans were placed here with brains to care for the rest of creation. Therefore, recycling, waste management, energy production and management, minimizing financial costs, and environmental care are essential to sustaining life on this planet. We would like to say that our ultimate goal is not to buy anything, though we know that this is not achievable. (At least we minimize inputs from off the farm.) Every aspect of the Flying J Farm is designed to do these to the best of our ability. The following are highlighted to show economic and environmental sustainability efforts in place on the Flying J Farm:

1)   The outdoor wood furnace provides heat for three buildings and hot water when in operation, wood comes from on-farm sources. Wood ash provides potash for the garden and fields.

2)   Solar thermal heats water in Garden Barn during the summer.

3)   An 11 KW Solar electric system provides about three quarters of our electric needs throughout the year

4)   Most food consumed here is grown on the farm including some that is preserved through canning, drying, and freezing

5)   Food is prepared from scratch using on farm or local ingredients when possible, not from processed food

6)   Food waste is composted or offered to chickens.

7)   Water for animals mostly comes from barn roof runoff. Two wells supply water for the farm, so no water bills. A rain barrel collects water for garden use.

8)   We recycle everything that can be recycled, burn the rest. We have no trash pick up.

9)   A strawbale outhouse with composting toilet has been constructed for use at the farm lake. A septic system handles human waste at the house.

10) Biodiesel fuel is produced from waste oil and used in most vehicles.

11) One vehicle, the golf cart, is all electric and used for garden harvesting.

12) Hay is produced on the farm for cows and horses, they are grass-fed and get no grains.

13) Grains are produced for chicken feed. They are also cleaned and milled into flours and cornmeal for human consumption.

14) All animals are totally grass-fed and harvest most of the grass on the farm.

15) Machines are mostly purchased used to minimize cost and then operated and maintained to extend life.

16) When possible, lumber used for building is cut from on-farm trees using our sawmill.

17) Seeds are saved for use the following year where possible.

18) Woods are used for maple syrup production, timber, nuts, and heat as well as recreation.

19) Maple syrup is produced using wood for energy.

20) A fruit orchard has been started to provide tree fruits. We also grow blueberries, grapes, raspberries and strawberries.

21) We have an oil expeller to be used for producing vegetable oils from sunflowers and other vegetables.

22) We know that the woods in Ohio produce many edible and medicinal plants and we include these in many of our educational seminars.

23) A large market garden produces food for CSA, farm markets, and a plant-based diet.

24) Chickens provide eggs and some fertilizer.

25) Cows and horses provide fertilizer for the garden and fields.

26) The animals get no antibiotics, hormones, steroids, or other chemicals that are given to conventional stock.

27) We do not buy any cows. All were born and raised here at this farm. The herd began with the purchase of three cows each with calves from a neighbor, and then later two bulls. Since then, the herd has grown by reproducing here at the farm only.

28) A high tunnel has been installed to extend the season for vegetable growing.pe your paragraph here.

Permaculture and sustainability are closely related. However, Here at the Flying J Farm we are adding one specific aspect of sustainability that is usually reserved as a permaculture concept. I am referring to our food forest on a five acre field just to the west of the Lake Cabin. We began by digging a swale (now three swales) along the contour of the field about 400 feet long that took a serpentine shape. We planted three types of apple trees at the top (early, mid-season and late). Then we planted 136 aronia berry bushes about 11 feet down slope, followed by 30 blue berry bushes and 7 feet further down slope. The swale starts at a small "pocket" pond that will feed water to the swale and plants. Up the hill a little further we planted a sunflower circle. The picture only shows the plowed part before planting.

On the north side of the field we planted raspberries as well as rhubarb. On the east side there is a garden bounded by various nut trees, hazel nut, northern pecan, hickory, and walnut. Future plans include various other fruit trees, fig trees, peach, pair, plum, asparagus, currants, elderberries, honey berries, black raspberries,  black berries, etc. Our plan is for this to be a pick-your-own perennial garden.