Contrast Ranch was 36 acres of dissimilarities, from the sweeping view of the snow-covered continental divide, to the coal plant in the foreground contributing to the diminishment of the local glaciers. From water scarcity to water abundance, this historic property was an agricultural challenge to transition into agricultural fruitfulness. Historic though the property is, worn-out better characterized the land’s productive capacity. There were many transitions on this property, from dairy cow grazing and hay fields, to intensive horse grazing, to the herds of black-tailed prairie dogs. Real Earth Design looked at the property through the lens of permaculture design and revealed yet another transition lurking—a micro-herd of soil organisms to replenish the landscape in conjunction with detailed water management to return the worn out land to bountiful capacity.
This design is geared toward setting up the farm-scape so that water, people, plants, animals, micro-herds, and productivity can flow and function in beneficial relationships, each feeding into the other. In order to accomplish this infrastructural change, education in regenerative agriculture and the lifestyle that goes along with it will be the primary feedstock.
The Contrast Ranch design implementation has been ongoing since the completion of the design process in 2012. Real Earth Design has been retained for periodic consults and steering sessions to ensure the project stays on track, as well as finding suitable site managers with the appropriate background and knowledge of permaculture to help the project succeed. Keyline water management, food forestry, and annual agriculture have taken the majority of focus in the sequence of implementation. Download the 60 page project manual [PDF] here.