Salamander Springs Farm was created from scratch utilizing permaculture principles and practice, by developing & recycling local resources, water, energy & nutrients. Since 2002, land once devoid of topsoil has produced an abundance of market crops without tillage, fertilizers or pesticides. Grain and dry bean fields are broadcast seeded in a continuous cover crop system, incorporating the wisdom of mentors like the late Japanese rice farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka with the assistance of rotationally-grazed poultry and a beautifully-crafted scythe. Cornfields are grown without tillage in '3-Sisters' polycultures with pole beans, pumpkins & squash, utilizing traditional Native American practices Susana learned from 8 years working with Mayan farmers in Guatemala. Contour swales on these fields have retained moisture and built fertility over the years. Black turtle & pinto beans, popcorn & whole grain cornmeal are dried, shelled & processed on the farm (see online store below). For 16 years Susana has selected, bred and developed a unique heirloom cornmeal corn ("KY Rainbow" dent) which is sold through the VA heirloom seed company, www.southernexposure.com. A wide variety of vegetable crops are intensively grown on permanent mulched beds and between contour swales. The farm also produces an abundance of fruits, nuts, berries, herbs, flowers, forest medicinals, ramps & mushrooms throughout the season. Farm products include dried & packaged fruits, chilies, culinary herbs & teas from our solar food dehydrator, herbal salves and luffa sponges. Salamander Springs Farm products are sold at Berea Farmers Markets, local stores & restaurants, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions and the Local Harvest online store. The CSA runs May-October (As of 1/20/19 there is one opening for the 2019 season).
Low-tunnel hoop houses and a salvaged full sized hoophouse are utilized for year-round production. Winter produce includes chard, daikon, broccoli (early winter), cabbage, salad greens, kale, spinach, carrots, turnip, mustards, beets, sunchokes, turmeric, and ginger. Fall-harvested potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, peanuts, pumpkin, squash, cornmeal, popcorn, dry beans, cowpeas & garbanzos, dried fruits, chilis, herbs & teas fill out the larder. The most important resource at Salamander Springs Farm is our soil life & health. Using permaculture and biodynamic principles and practices, all food is produced organically in the traditional sense--by cycling local resources--not with the input intensive, industrial-scale methods of USDA Organic. Nutrient-dense, safe and healthy food requires a healthy, LIVING SOIL. Invariably the first thing customers notice is the wonderful taste (and nutrient value) of food grown in our living soil as compared to supermarket "organic" foods.
Susana Lein homesteaded what became Salamander Springs Farm on one of 4 contiguous land tracts, comprising 98 acres of hardwood Appalachian forest; protective land covenants were placed on all tracts to ensure sustainable, ecologically-sound care of the land. In 2001, she cleared briars, locust & cedar trees on about 7 acres of degraded ridge-top meadow, started building soil and planting the fruit orchard, "food forest" and nut trees. After building a gravity-fed spring water system from the forest in 2002, an outhouse and open-air kitchen shack from recycled/salvaged materials in 2003, Susana began camping on the land while building other outbuildings and a small passive solar house from locally harvested & milled wood. Salamander Springs Farm is totally off-grid. Another passive solar building houses a small solar electric system and freezer in its north room while the south side serves as a potting shed. Clay dug for farm ponds has been utilized for a beautiful earthen floor, clay "slip-straw" walls and natural plasters. In 2014, a small farmers' grant from Kentucky State University helped purchase a grain mill, rough lumber & roofing to build a small granary building, on which Susana built a porch addition for a community gathering and workshop space.
MONTHLY FARM TOURS are offered on the 2nd Saturday of each month from April to November starting at 2 p.m. Tours last 2 1/2 hours and are $12/person paid on arrival. (groups of 5+ people @ $8/person) Please understand that we must stick to this schedule in order to accommodate the large number of inquiries for farm visits & tours. Workshops or other events (posted here in the "EVENTS" calendar) sometimes necessitate changes to this schedule or provide additional tour opportunities. Press "Email Us" here to reserve with your name(s), phone number, date requested, specific interests, and number in your party. We will confirm and send directions. If you are a farm apprentice or student for which the tour fee represents a hardship, we can discuss a barter or exchange for a few hours of working along side of us on the farm. As we are off-grid without internet, contact us at least a couple weeks prior to your requested tour date to arrange. As time permits, we can arrange special tours for groups of over 8 people, however we generally must stick to this schedule in order to accommodate the large number of inquiries we receive for farm visits & tours.
PERMACULTURE IN PRACTICE & NATURAL BUILDING WORKSHOPS at Salamander Springs Farm: email us below to be added to our mailing list for workshop notification. Email notifications are sent several times/year, including both on-farm and off-farm workshops for organized groups & conferences. Events and workshops are also published here in the Local Harvest events calendar. To organize a workshop for your group/organization or on your land, email us below. Once again, as the farm is totally off-grid without internet, please allow 1-2 weeks for replies.
Susana and Salamander Springs Farm are featured in the acclaimed award-winning 2015 documentary film "INHABIT" which premiered at the North American Permaculture Voices conference, the International Permaculture Convergence in London in September 2015, and has been translated into 7 languages. Susana can also be heard in 2 podcasts with Scott Mann of thepermaculturepodcast.com. See links below for other articles and information.
See photos and details of permaculture and natural building projects at Salamander Springs Farm: www.flickr.com/photos/salamanderspringsfarm/sets Click on the first photo set for permaculture workshop slides of the farm.
PERMACULTURE APPRENTICESHIPS and WWOOF IMMERSIONS at Salamander Springs Farm run from mid-April to mid-October. Salamander Springs Farm also participates in college service-learning programs. See the farm's listing at wwoofusa.org (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms): wwoofusa.org/farm/susanas-perma-organics-salamander-springs-farm/ WWOOFusa.org film interview with Susana at Salamander Springs Farm, "How has WWOOF Impacted your Life?" (November 2017):
Farm conditions are rustic in a beautiful setting; we drink clear spring water and use a solar heated shower, composting outhouse, kerosene & LED solar lights, rustic kitchen shelter with LP cook stove & solar oven and tent platforms. All farm infrastructure (Susana's tiny house, potting shed (clay-slip-straw building), granary, corn crib, produce packing shed, tool shed, outhouse & shower, tent platforms and open air kitchen) has been developed from scratch using a majority of on-site, natural, local, recycled or salvaged materials. Gravity-fed spring water, rainwater catchment and ponds fill water needs. This is a place to learn about truly regenerative systems, cycling local resources & energy ("closing the loop"), homesteading from the ground up, living within the means of a local ecosystem, and using permaculture principles to develop sustainable housing, crop production and local economic systems. Spanish and English are spoken. Email for application information.
Published articles, films, books etc. about Susana Lein & Salamander Springs Farm copy & paste links if not live):
Season: May through October
Type: single farm
Full Share: $675 week (full shares) for a long 20-week season!
Work Req? No
Markets on LocalHarvest
Know a market serving this farm? Tell them to connect here on LocalHarvest!
Schedule and Location:
Saturdays 9-12 a.m.
Berea Farmers' Market, 419 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY.
WINTER Market: Methodist Parrish House, 101 Fee St. Berea, KY (behind summer market location).
Local natural food stores, restaurants, special events, deliveries to Berea by order.
Happy Meadow Natural Foods, Glades Rd., Berea, KY
Native Bagel, Berea, KY
Good Foods Co-op, Lexington, KY
When you're 'starved' for a genuine experience, Susana Lein at Salamander Springs Farm is the real deal.
Salamander Springs Farm serves a full course Appalachian meal of permaculture and organic farming knowledge, solar and electrical energy alternatives, and SO MUCH more! And like any satisfying and surprising feast, Susana herself is the fine wine adorning each scrumptious presentation.... [more]
Tho in my rural youth I walked corn fields and enjoyed creamy, sweet, fresh corn right off the stalks, for the last 20+/- years I have been unable to consume the "mutant" (hybrid) corn prevalent in commercial food production.... [more]
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My husband and I attended Susana's Farm Tour in October. The weather was gloomy and rainy but that didn't distract from all the things we learned. Susana is very gracious and we enjoyed out time greatly!... [more]
From Our Blog
Salamander Springs' Permaculture Workshops: email to get notifications
Permaculture in Practice workshops at Salamander Springs Farm are not posted on social media, etc. Salamander Springs is an entirely off-grid and remote farm without internet; we appreciate your patience with email replies! If you would like to get on the workshop notification email list, press "email us" our our Local Harvest home page.... [more]
- American Persimmon
- American Plum
- Moon & Stars Watermelon
- Red Mulberry
- Wild American Elderberry
Meat & Poultry
Pulses (beans, peas & lentils)
- Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce
- Amish Paste Tomato
- Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry
- Cherokee Purple Tomato
- German Pink Tomato
- Green Striped Cushaw
- Hayman Sweet Potato
- Jimmy Nardello's Sweet Italian Frying pepper
- Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
- Makah Ozette Potato
- Seminole Pumpkin
- Seven Top Turnip
- Speckled Lettuce
- Wild Ramps