Once a barren landscape, MA Center San Ramon, Amma’s first US ashram, is now a pure example of Amma’s vision to bring harmony to nature through sustainable and compassionate techniques for the cultivation of land and resources. In 2007, Amma asked that a 1000 fruit trees be planted at MA Center, San Ramon and thus, GreenFriends Farm was born! A vegetable garden was added in 2019.
Today, with rolling hills of fruit trees, GreenFriends Farm has blossomed into an educational resource for ecologically conscious agriculture. It is a destination for enjoying nature, and a vibrant spot for volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Amma blessed the 1000th fruit tree sapling during her on-site retreat in 2019. (see photo).
GreenFriends Farm strives to be an educational resource for the Bay Area through demonstration of ecological practices in permaculture, reforestation, and sustainability. Drawn by the site’s beauty and the center’s uncompromising dedication to treating Mother Nature with respect, students come from around the world to attend workshops on best practices in farming.
Soil Food Web
GreenFriends Farm utilizes Soil Food Web (SFW) techniques to create the best soil possible for fruit trees. SFW is a science of soil microorganisms and their interaction with plants and the earth. We are using SFW techniques to transform our hard clay soil that is bacterial dominant into a fungal dominant soil that is suitable for fruit trees. For many years GreenFriends Farm hosted Dr. Elaine Ingham’s SFW course.
GreenFriends Farm is implementing the following SFW practices:
- Regular applications of compost tea and compost extract
- Heavy mulching with wood chips rich in fungal food
- Making of thermal compost
- Regular analysis of soil, compost and compost tea under microscope
- Planting cover crops and companion plants to encourage beneficial microorganisms
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Permaculture is a design science that creates living environments that are sustainable and have the diversity and resilience of nature. GreenFriends Farm hosts a Permaculture Design Certification Course in cooperation with Living Mandala. The farm is also a hands-on classroom for the San Francisco Permaculture Design Course.
GreenFriends Farm has implemented the following permaculture practices:
- keyline plowing
- soil erosion prevention techniques
- net and pan
- use of companion plants and guilds
- check dams
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