Posted by Less Cancer

From the Movie Fresh Website and blog

Bill Couzens Guest Blogger

Ayrshire Farm
A Model of Sustainability that Raises the Bar to Protect the Environment and Human Health

By Bill Couzens, Founder Less Cancer

Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia has a long rich history, as early as 1821. The present Farm was purchased in 1912 by Brig. Gen. James A. Buchanan of Washington, D.C. The historic property of approximately 800 acres was purchased from his descendants in 1996 by Sandy Lerner.

Since Ayrshire’s rebirth in 1996, Lerner has brought back the farm’s roots by early-on subscribing to farming practices that, at the time, seemed by many to herald back to practices from a time gone by. As it turns out Ayrshire was ahead of the curve, using farming practices for the new century, practices that would prove to enhance the environment and human health.

In the later half of the 20th century, with the development and uses of chemical pesticides, Lerner recognized the importance of returning to organic practices because of the healthy results they yield.

Organic farming can be especially important for reducing pesticide exposures according to Dr. Maryann Donovan, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Donovan says “having certified organic farms is an asset to any community for a number of reasons. For example, organic farms reduce exposures to pesticides that may contribute to ill health and they also provide a local source of healthy and nutritious foods. Clearly this is beneficial for both the environment and human health.”

Ayrshire Farm supplies other local outlets but also supplies two of Lerner’s brainchildren, the Home Farm Store, in Middleburg, Virginia and Hunters Head Tavern in Upperville,Virginia once known as the Carr House dating back to 1750. The Home Farm Store is Ayrshire Farm’s gourmet retail shop, and offers USDA certified organic, certified humanely raised and handled, pasture-based meat and poultry.

The vegetable production efforts begin in the greenhouse, where vegetables and herb seedlings are started and specialized greens are grown for Hunters Head Tavern during the cooler seasons.

Among the rare breeds are Shire horses, Scottish Highland cattle, Ancient White Park Cattle, Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs, and several breeds of free-range chickens, turkeys. Pheasants and wild turkeys can be found in the Farm woodlands areas, which are being replanted and managed so as to provide “wildlife corridors” among the various habitat areas. Native trees, plants and grasses are being re-introduced as woodland cover, hedgerows, and fodder crops.

Ayrshire’s goal today is to make livestock and crop production self-sufficient and profitable. Additionally, Ayrshire is committed to achieving these goals by farming with humane, organic, and sustainable methods; preserving genetic variation in their herds of rare breeds, and contributing to seed pools for heirloom plants.

The Farms mission from their website so appropriately states “Farm sustainably and profitably, promoting the benefits of locally produced, humanely raised meats and organic produce to the consumer, our community, and our children through education, outreach and example”.

Ironic that so many practices about Ayrshire Farm date back from time gone by and yet everything they practice depends on our future and the future of the next generation’s health and environment.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 8:30 pm and is filed under Guest Bloggers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Key Words Bill Couzens, Sandy Lerner, Ayrshire Farm, Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Less Cancer, Next Generation Choices Foundation, Cancer University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Maryann Donovan, PhD, Center for Environmental Oncology, Donovan, Farm, Home Farm Store, Middleburg, Virginia, Upperville, Hunters Head, Environment,Human Health, Organic, USDA Certified Organic,