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“Tools & Machinery” Field Day




“Tools & Machinery” Field Day

Springdale Farm, April 21, 2015

Peter Seely, Springdale Farm, CRAFT

Winter briefly returned with cold winds and snow flurries for our recent Field Day, but that did not stop fifteen CRAFT farmers from visiting Springdale Farm in Plymouth, WI, to learn about tools and machinery from Peter Seely, our 2014 Mentor Farmer of the Year. 

Bernadette and Peter Seely started Springdale farm in 1988 after spending a number of years together in Holland. Before leaving Europe, they packed several shipping containers with tools and machinery (including some seldom-seen items such as a leek lifter and a steerage hoe) to commence an almost thirty-year process of constant experimentation. Peter says that “equipment is cheap” compared to the time and labor that it can save, and he has kept up the practice of buying used equipment, trying it for a while, and seeing if it works.

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The results of this ongoing experimentation can be seen all around the farm, from the myriad different kinds of plug flats (plus soil blocks and paper pots) to several different styles of transplanters and cultivation equipment. Springdale Farm even has a bed-straddling Frankencart, built from an Allis Chalmers tractor and a warehouse utility cart (similar to a golf cart). One greenhouse has blow-up sides that can deflate and open to provide ventilation when the thermostat reaches a certain temperature while others are hand-cranked and one greenhouse has a hatch in the top that is pushed open using a piece of wood.  Peter makes his way around high trellised crops on drywall stilts, and greens are washed luxuriously in a Jacuzzi made from a used dairy tank.Peter, group, basket weeder, tractors.JPG

All in all, the field day left the farmers with a lot to think about as they made their ways back to their farms in Illinois and Wisconsin.

To learn more about CRAFT Field Days visit


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By Bill Ladd-Cawthorne

Farm Finance Project Coordinator