Tucked into the northern forest and nestled in the lap of the Sawtooth Mountains along the North Shore of Lake Superior, Round River Farm is a solar and wind powered homestead founded on the ideal of sustainability and balance within the environment. Our philosophy evolved from Conservationist Aldo Leopold's writing:
"The current is the stream of energy which flows out of the soil,
into plants, thence into animals, thence back into the soil,
in a never-ending circuit of life."
Striving to create circular systems in our home and farm, we use the resources provided by our northern environment: sun, wind, water, wood and stone. We intensively manage about one acre of tilled crops, including four high tunnels. Several more acres are in fruit and nut orchards, which also serve as pasture for our small flock of Shetland sheep and as forage for our honeybees and free range chickens.
We farm in a region not typically known for agriculture, and for good reason. The northern landscape was scraped bare by glaciers and the northern climate is unforgiving. On our farm, bedrock lies less than two feet below most of our soil’s surface and frost can visit us any month of the year, even mid July. If our small homestead was plopped down in a southern Minnesota farm field, it might be considered an over-sized garden. But the productivity that we have attained on our small piece of rocky ground and the balance we have tried to maintain with the wilderness spirit of our surroundings are important examples of what can work in an agriculture system. We named our farm “Round River” to emphasize the circular nature of sustainable systems, and we have tried to live true to this by how we get our energy (from the sun and wind) and how we use our wastes (as compost and greywater). We hope our small example of a farm can provide inspiration to a human society needing to learn to live in harmony with the Earth that sustains us.