Ocean Hour Farm is a gathering space for demonstration, learning, and research, drawing on the connections between ocean health, climate science, and experiential education.
WHERE LAND MEETS THE SEA
Today, 80% of ocean pollution comes from land-based sources. Chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides used to grow crops and keep our lawns green runoff into our creeks and storm drains heading to the ocean. This chemical runoff and plastic waste accumulate in the ocean, inhibiting its ability to sequester carbon and stabilize the climate.
From forage-able fences to food forests to edible landscaping, the plants of Ocean Hour Farm sustain life. Beautiful, wild-looking landscapes that support pollinators and pest managers integrate with bio-diverse food systems and native wetland vegetation to enhance water and air quality as well as many other ecosystem services.
Soil and water
Soil is a living organism that cleans water. Surface, ground, drinking, and coastal waters are highly vulnerable to nutrient and bacterial pollution on Aquidneck Island. Soil management directly impacts water quality, which is why stormwater management is a central feature of Ocean Hour Farm’s land management design.
A Coastal Farm
History of the land
The SVF Foundation
Ocean Hour Farm sits on a unique piece of land in Newport, Rhode Island. When it rains, water flows into Narragansett Bay and, ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is currently in hardiness zone 7A, but we anticipate weather akin to Annapolis, Maryland, as our planet warms. The winds will become less reliable, the summers wetter and the winters drier. Storms and flooding risks will increase, and the road that divides the property will likely be underwater by 2080.
Eighteen thousand years ago, the last of the glaciers that inhabited Rhode Island began to recede, allowing humans to migrate to North America. This ancient glaciation created Newport’s famous rocky coast, and on this piece of land, gently sloping well-drained soils. The historical timeline we are aware of and the cultivation of this land over the past 150 years are but a microscopic moment. The ecosystem is complex, intricate, and interconnected. So that we can work more harmoniously with the land that sustains us, our first step is to study it.
Most recently, the land where Ocean Hour Farm sits was utilized by the SVF Foundation, whose mission was the preservation of rare and endangered livestock breeds. To that end, SVF succeeded in its mission to collect and cryopreserve over 100,000 samples of germplasm. This genetic material now resides at the Dorrance Hamilton Cryo Conservation Laboratory at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia.