Dripping Springs Garden is the project of gardeners Mark Cain and Michael Crane, along with the numerous interested young people who have come to learn about organic production and marketing each summer since 1984. The Garden is located in southwest Carroll County, about 15 miles south of Berryville and 50 miles east of Fayetteville, tucked into a tiny valley along Dry Fork Creek. Starting with an abandoned blueberry field and several open acres in 1984, Mark and Mike began to carve out terraced, raised-bed gardens with few machines and lots of hard work. Now some 25 years later gardens cover the slopes overlooking the creek and forest, and the garden is a lively workshop of production and learning for the owners and students who come to work with them.
Mark Cain came to organic market gardening through his interest in all things biological, with a degree in biology from the University of Illinois and subsequent study in organic horticulture at the Farm and Garden Project of the University of California Santa Cruz in 1978. Mark is an active member of the Fayetteville Farmers Market Board of Directors, and often an invited speaker at local and regional sustainable agriculture conferences. An avid practitioner of ashtanga-vinyasa yoga, Mark also teaches at the Nature's Water Yoga studio in Fayetteville on Tuesday evenings, and to summer interns at Dripping Springs Garden. For more information about ashtanga yoga in the Ozarks and class schedules, see http://www.eurekayoga.com.
Michael Crane is completely at home in the garden, and doesn't just have a green thumb; he's got green fingers, feet, heart, and mind as well. A native of the Ozarks (Springfield, MO), Mike learned gardening from his grandparents, learning to plant and put food up for the winter. Before coming to Dripping Springs, Michael spent years landscaping and working with native stone in the Eureka Springs area. The interns swear by his delicious fresh-from-the-garden cooking!
Every summer sees a new crop of interns at Dripping Springs. Since 1994, we have been working with the MESA program (Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture(www.mesaprogram.org), which brings in qualified young people from countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Thailand, Nepal. Most often these students have completed university studies in agriculture or forestry and may already be working with small farmers as organic field advisors. American students come to us via the ATTRA sustainable internship listing (www.attrainternships.ncat.org) or word of mouth.
The interns arrive in early April, bringing with them lots of enthusiasm and energy. By working alongside these bright young people day after day, we come to share each other's dreams of a healthy green planet that produces in abundance. How can we grow marketable crops without poisons? What is the best way to get our products to market, and to educate consumers? And how do we remain healthy, balanced, creative, and socially engaged while maintaining a strenuous and sometimes isolated lifestyle? Together we live out our best answers (so far) to these questions as we sharethe gardener's life of hoeing, pruning, harvesting, marketing, and eating with the seasons.