A reverence for our natural landscape and environmental sensitivities drive the way we think and operate at Once In A Blue Moon Farm. Living with nature is our way of life. We are intricately bonded to our water, our soil, our air, our future, our health, and our economy. We aspire to be a model for such living and hope our example and demonstrations can help inspire or compliment your efforts in rethinking the way we all live.
Our Methods (some).
Organic farming and gardening at Once In A Blue Moon Farm means several things. It is a system of production that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. We mean to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. Our natural ecological systems must be cared for. We are not a certified organic farm because we choose to garden organically without government overseeing and regulatory bookkeeping.
We use no herbicides or pesticides on our farm. These applications affect natural organisms living in the soil and will disrupt natural processes. Moreover, herbicide and pesticide non-point pollution harm mammals and birds, as well as pollute surface water and groundwater systems.
Our fertilization process is completely natural and consists of composting animal and yard organics. We know our soil's health is critical to the taste of our fruits, and vigor of our ornamentals. We use minimal off-farm inputs and soil amendments such as locally collected kelp, seed oils, and bone meal. Chicken and alpaca manure is highly valuable. Yard, kitchen, and all other organic wastes are mixed in. The composting soil is located in the chicken yard and alpaca pasture for good reason. The chickens are able to scratch at the compost to find a wide range of insects and worms to supplement their diet, while stirring the compost for us.
We might be surrounded by saltwater, but freshwater is a precious source here. Water is one of the main inhibiting factors to development in the San Juans. While it may rain for months on end during the winter and spring, from June - September freshwater is scarce. For our agriculture needs we use rainwater and greywater from the homes. A series of retention ponds and rainwater catchment systems are used for all our farming and gardening applications, but also mitigate storm water runoff. Even our low flow dual flush toilets, the largest user of water in a household, are supplied by rainwater. To help us with our conservation efforts, we gracefully request that all guests be conscious of our islands' limited water supply and conserve as much as possible.
Building + Construction.
Perhaps often overlooked, the greatest recycling effort was the renovation of the existing farm buildings into guest accommodations rather than build new. At Sleeping Sea, construction is recycle, recycle, recycle or better yet always thinking cradle to cradle. Nothing gets thrown away. We greatly reduce construction waste by recycling or reusing materials and incorporating them into a new project. Wood scrap and gypsum board were ground into landscape mulch. Much of the new doug fir used came from trees in our forest and were custom milled for board and batton siding as well as structural lumber. Even most of our furnishings are refurbished and "found treasures." We buy almost 100% of our building materials from the local Orcas Island lumber yard and use only local contracting, not just for convenience, but to foster relationships in our community. We want Sleeping Sea to have a personal character not imitated or mistaken for anywhere else.
Laundry + Cleaning.
Laundry is typically one of the highest water users in the hospitality industry. We do not provide daily linen or towel services in an effort to minimize our potable water use. There is laundry service available in Eastsound. All of our soaps are phosphate free and biodegradable. No chlorine is used in our laundry to reduce personal chemical sensitivities and to keep it out of our water system. We are very prudent about cleaning our accommodations to the last detail. Again, we use all natural, phosphate free, and biodegrable cleaners in an effort to be gentle on our water, furniture, and guests' sensitivities. Vinegar and water is our primary cleaner.
To reduce energy dependence we no longer use any oil heating as of 2005, but rather sustainably harvested wood from our forest at Once In A Blue Moon Farm for fuel. Electric heating is available to supplement any heating needs during deep freezes. Buildings are insulated with recycled fiberglass and rock wool insulation for maximum heat and sound retention. We have begun to replace all existing interior and exterior lighting with compact fluorescent lights. Building siting and many windows allow for generous natural light. Our farm equipment runs on low sulfur diesel, but we find ourselves rarely using machinery to reduce impacts on our land. Hand done labor, while demanding, beats a machine or mechanized systems any day.
Sleeping Sea and Once In A Blue Moon Farm take pride in our small intimate island community. We have hosted field trips for YMCA's Camp Orkila, the Orcas Island School District, and The Funhouse Discovery Center. Sleeping Sea is a member of the Orcas Island Green Business Alliance and Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce. A conscious effort is made to buy local and use local services. We proudly support and donate to local organizations such as The San Juan Island's Preservation Trust, The San Juan County Land Bank, The Funhouse Discovery Center, The Orcas Center and more. We have and continue to donate our lodging for community events and charitable fundraisers. Please contact us if your organization is interested in establishing a relationship with Sleeping Sea.
Please send us your suggestions. We are committed to always evolving and improving our methods of conservation and environmental philosophy.
Some resources we suggest.
Design With Nature, Ian McHarg
Cradle to Cradle: Rethinking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Living Systems: Innovative Materials and Technologies for Landscape Architects, Liat Margolis and Alexander Robinson
Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th Century World, J.R. McNeill
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollen
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser
Not On the Label: What Really Goes into the Food on Your Plate, Felicity Lawrence
LAND Code: Guidelines for Sustainable Land Development from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Agricultural Resources Committee of San Juan County