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They’re Growing Foliage For Forage
Alix Daguin has planted thousands of trees, vines, shrubs, and berry canes to produce nuts, fruit, and forage. Her 14-acre farm, called All for One One for All (AOOA), includes beds of annuals and perennials to provide nectar for the farm’s bees and more produce for the farm stand. It also hosts a small but growing sheep flock, as well as 300 egg layers and several 60-bird batches of broilers each year.
AOOA is a non-profit founded in 2019 by Daguin and her mother Ariane. It was the next step for the Daguins. Ariane pioneered chef-quality, ethically raised meats from small farms and ranches in the early 1980’s. She built her company D’Artagnan into a national brand, including Green Circle, her line of slow-growth, naturally raised chicken. Now, she and Alix are pioneering a new concept of food production.
“We wanted to create a system where everything can work closely together with orchard rows and fodder trees and grazing animals moving through the spaces,” says Alix. “Our goal is to connect people to a productive landscape. We want them to think about where their food comes from.”
The Daguins started with a property that had a dog kennel and nine horse paddocks. It was overgrazed with compacted soil from too many horses. While her mother spends weekends on the farm, Alix is the hands-on operator.
They purchased the farm in January 2020, and by the end of the year, more than 1,500 trees, shrubs, and vines had been planted. Ducks, chickens, geese, and bees were introduced. That winter, a farm stand was readied for a summer opening.
With the help of a professionally trained forester and a locally raised farm hand, the worn-out fields have been transformed. There are 60 orchard grazing blocks, each with a wide array of vegetation. Fruit to be harvested include apples, cherries, pawpaws, persimmon, peaches, pears, plums, and more. Berries include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, elderberries, and mulberries. Other trees and shrubs are nut producers like chestnuts and walnuts.
“Instead of using permaculture zones, ours is a more applied system,” says Daguin. “We wanted to maximize how sheep and chickens can graze, but we wanted to be able to drive a tractor and trailer through it.
AOOA is still a young operation. Alix is quick to admit they’re learning and adapting. Some trees and shrubs didn’t work, while others worked even when mistakes were made.
“Seaberries were a total mistake,” says Alix. “However, black locust and hybrid poplar have performed well for us.”
At one point early on, the sheep girdled many of the black locust trees. Alix cut them short and discovered that they quickly regrew like a bramble. She put a tree tube on a potential leader and left the others to be grazed. She also practices pollarding, a European method of clipping a young tree to induce more growth.
Alix admits many questions are yet unanswered, such as what happens to the hybrid poplars as nearby chestnuts get big. “It’s beautiful on paper but challenging and ever-changing as everything matures,” she says. “The diversity is intimidating at times but we see the multiple benefits. Not only do the trees help with erosion, but the shade makes the pasture better and the sheep healthier, and the trimmings provide fodder for the sheep. Branches and uneaten stems are used for brush piles that host wildlife and insects. It’s pretty neat to see how it all comes together.”
What’s also coming together are the educational components of AOOA. They started educational workshops in the summer and fall of 2021. Workshops, including fiber arts, are held for kids and others in the original barn. Eventually, the barn will host a full restaurant. A limited menu currently offers salads, soups, sandwiches and more. In the meantime, it houses a farm store featuring the farm’s produce, honey, lamb, chicken, and eggs.
Non-food products include worsted and bulk wool from the Karakul sheep flock. A local weaver makes carpets from the wool and sells them in the store.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, All For One One For All, 221 Craigville Rd., Goshen, N.Y. 10924 (ph 845-320-2773; www.alloneoneall.com).

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2024 - Volume #48, Issue #1