Skip to Content

Farming on the Wild Side – Edible Landscaping for People, Pollinators, and Birds

Learn how to create an edible landscape for people, pollinators, and birds with Nancy Hayden from The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, VT.

In this one-hour video, Nancy shares a bucket load of fantastic tips with us, from turning your lawns into pretty, functional orchards to deer control and alley cropping. She firmly believes we can all make a difference for birds, pollinators, and people, right in our own backyard

If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never slept with a mosquito in the room.–Dalai Lama

The video is completely free to watch. If you like what you see, Nancy has compiled even more information in her book, “Farming on the Wild Side“. I’ll share some info about it underneath the video.

Nancy is a former environmental engineering professor with degrees in biology and ecology, as well as running her own farm with her husband. She knows what she’s talking about!

Nancy and John grow over 30 different varieties of fruit trees. From common apples, cherries, and blueberries to less common edibles like currants, Aronia, and elderberry.

They sell fruit trees and pollinating plants from their nursery. The video above shows how they transformed their lawn into a beautiful, productive orchard space.

Nancy recommends focussing on disease-resistant varieties of apple trees so you can focus on organic gardening. They do not use sprays of any kind on their property.

Fruit trees are managed organically with regular pruning, rich, well-drained soil, and good moisture.

One variety of fruit tree that is particularly popular at the moment is Elderberry, which has natural anti-viral properties.

Elderberry is pollinated by the wind, and you’ll need at least 2. Elderberry ripens from August to September and it’s beautiful when in flower.

Here’s Nancy’s book, Farming on the Wild Side.

Farming on the Wild Side: The Evolution of a Regenerative Organic Farm and Nursery
$29.95 $25.59

One farm’s decades-long journey into regenerative agriculture―and how these methods enhance biodiversity, pollinators, and soil health.

Northern Vermont’s Nancy and John Hayden have spent the last 25 years transforming their draft-horse-powered, organic vegetable and livestock operation into an agroecological, regenerative, biodiverse, organic fruit farm, fruit nursery, and pollinator sanctuary.

In Farming on the Wild Side, they explain the philosophical and scientific principles that influenced them as they phased out sheep and potatoes and embraced apples, pears, stone fruits, and a wide variety of uncommon berry crops; turned much of their property into a semi-wild state; and adapted their marketing and sales strategies to the new century.

Get It on Amazon
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
08/19/2022 01:23 pm GMT

Farming on the Wild Side talks about the journey from a sheep and potato farm to a semi-wild farm with apples, pears, stone fruits, and uncommon berry crops.

Farming on the Wild Side tells a story about new ways to manage small farms and homesteads, about nurturing land, about ecology, about economics, and about things that we can all do to heal both the land and ourselves.



  • Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.

Suzanne Harris

Tuesday 21st of July 2020

Love seeing the cosmos and sunflowers growing together on the front of Nancy's Book Farming on the Wild Side. I agree we can all make a difference in our back yard, just by planting some trees at the very least. Sue


Thursday 23rd of July 2020

Definitely Sue, it doesn't take much to plant a tree and there's one that fits every space :) Even without a garden, we can have containers or balcony rail planters!