Last year a Norwegian biologist sent Shana Hanson, farmer at 3 Streams Farm in Belfast, a bound copy of a study which determined that shredded leafy branches can be dried or ensiled to feed sheep. Then last winter, Shana spoke at a pollarding conference in France, where they demonstrated mechanical harvest of biomass from traditionally pollarded trees. This growing season, Shana and helper Josh Kauppila have been filling buckets of fresh chipped brush as silage samples for each tree species (part of their SARE Farmer Grant project). Last winter, the Holstein cows at Faithful Venture Farm in Searsmont eagerly ate ensiled elm leaves, as did the 3 Streams goats and hogs.
As a free prelude to the Tree Fodder Seminar 2018, this Thursday, July 5, at 6:30 pm in the Belfast Free Library Abbott Rm., Shana will lead a discussion of the feasibility of shifting some of the biomass market and/or roadside branch removal toward livestock farms, or creating farm landscapes tailored to tree branch harvest on a broad scale. Equipment options, nutrition, health, and environmental benefits will be considered. Historic and recent photos from Europe and Maine, plus large paper for sketching, will help participants to visualize this climate-calming approach to food production.