Coverdale Farm Preserve sunrise

From The Ground Up – Why Do You Have a Farm?

Change is in the air at Coverdale Farm Preserve, but the real difference starts beneath the surface.

“Why Do You Have a Farm?”

It is a question that we hear frequently. Most people do not associate conservation and agriculture. We are determined to change that.

When Coverdale Farm Preserve was generously donated to DelNature by the Greenewalt and Frederick families over two decades ago, land management practices to promote biodiversity and clean water were in place. Agricultural lands provided an opportunity to expand this work.

Farming That Supports Wildlife

How we farm and where our food is produced is “one of the most important conservation issues of the 21st century” according to the World Wildlife Federation.

Over the last few years, DelNature has transitioned its farming practices to regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon draw-down and improving the water cycle. Regenerative Agriculture enhances biodiversity, rather than depletes it.

The transition has not been quick or easy, but we are seeing results.

Birds are Thriving

Since converting our practices, our ornithologist, Dr. Ian Stewart, has confirmed breeding of several birds in decline including American Kestrels, and encountered several other declining native grassland species including Savannah Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Bobolinks. This research highlights the biodiversity at Coverdale Farm and illustrates the value of preserving quality meadow habitat year-round for birds and insects alike.

Healthy Soil

Our small herd of misfit cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys are not the only ones enjoying our new multi-species grasses. The beautiful, tall grasses that you see in our pastures are as beneficial as they are breathtaking. And, the pastures benefit from the animals’ natural fertilizer – all contributing the star of the show: the soil.

Healthier soils leads to better air quality, clean water and more nutrient dense food.

Exciting New Developments

Our vegetable production team currently farms eight 1/4 acre gardens using strictly biointensive organic methods. Three high tunnels (similar to greenhouses without heat) produce greens and lettuces throughout winter. Together with dedicated and skilled farmers, we produce enough food to satisfy our hundreds of on-site customers and local off-site retailers as well. And because of the new heated propagation house, all our plants start right on the farm.

The most obvious change is the new Agriculture Education Building, which is as striking as it is functional. Located directly adjacent to the production fields, the building is home to our vegetable washing, packing, and processing area, propagation greenhouse, and perhaps most exciting of all—our new Market at Coverdale Farm! Open to the public, our farm market offers our produce and eggs as well as local artisan items such as cheeses, spices, and honey, giving us a new way to connect our work to our community.

DelNature’s commitment to education, conservation, and advocacy is demonstrated at Coverdale Farm Preserve through our regenerative agriculture practices.

Join us at Coverdale Farm for delicious healthy food, knowing that each bite supports our mission.