Regenerative Agriculture

How We Farm

At Stone Barns Center, we use resilient, regenerative farming practices to grow seasonal, regionally appropriate food. Our highly integrated methods of composting and crop and animal rotations enrich soils and their ability to produce nutritious food.  These methods contribute to a dynamic, self-renewing system of farming that doesn’t need chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial inputs.

What’s grown here, and how is it used?
Year-round, we grow hundreds of varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs in 7.5 acres of outdoor fields and gardens and a 22,000-square-foot minimally heated greenhouse. By protecting the soil, we are able to produce a large variety of highly nutritious and flavorful vegetables, herbs and flowers that are used for research, education and sale. Our crop selection inventory is greater than 500 varieties; each season, we select and plant crops that are best suited to the season and soil regeneration.

Animals—laying hens, broiler chickens, turkeys, geese, sheep, goats, pigs and bees—live humane lives on our 23 acres of pasture, 40 acres of woodlands and in the shelter of our barns. Pigs root around in the shade of the forest. Sheep rotate to fresh pasture every few days, followed by geese, laying chickens, meat chickens, turkeys and pigs. Such multispecies rotational grazing leads to healthy grasses and soils. Some animals are heritage breeds—traditional livestock breeds that were raised before industrial agriculture and that were carefully selected and bred over time to be well-adapted to the local environment.

Most of the farm’s produce and meat is sold to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the award-winning onsite partner restaurant and café, and through the Farm Store. The rest is used in our education programs, as children and other visitors cook with and taste what’s grown here.

What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture begins with healthy, fertile soil and aims for the highest standards of farming in harmony with nature.  Our goals for regenerative agriculture include:

  • Restore and maintain soil health and fertility through composting, crop rotation, diversification, waste recycling, mineral balancing and other methods.
  • Use both natural resources and non-renewable resources efficiently and sparingly.
  • Husband animals to the highest ethical and humane standards.
  • Harness the power of natural biological cycles and ecosystem function to control weeds and pests and address other problems that arise.
  • Respect wildlife, native biodiversity and the ecosystem of which we are a part.
  • Help people discover and appreciate the sources of good food—both the land and water in which it is grown and the farmers who grow it.

Innovation & Experimentation
Our farm is a laboratory dedicated to experimenting with, improving and spreading sustainable growing practices. Learn more about our work here.