Alley cropping is an ancient practice, defined by the USDA as “the planting of rows of trees and/or shrubs to create alleys within which agricultural or horticultural crops are produced.”
Farmers Lisa Miskelly and Anton Shannon got interested in adding this agroforestry practice to their draft-horse-powered vegetable operation because of the potential to diversify their income while also helping mitigate flooding they’ve been experiencing from increasingly frequent and severe rain events. Pasa connected them with agroforestry consultants at Interlace Commons as part of our work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to pilot alley cropping systems in Pennsylvania. Earlier this spring, Good Work Farm started incorporating perennial strips of fruit (apples, asian pear, pear) and ornamental woody cut-stem trees (willow, dogwood) as well as elderberry bushes in their annual vegetable production fields.
Come check out the new plantings, say “hay” to the horses, and meet Rocco, resident celebrity farm dog. Lisa, Anton, and Interlace Commons consultant Meghan Giroux will discuss the business and conservation considerations that went into the design process. You’ll also learn how alley cropping can work for your farm’s goals.
Refreshments will be provided.