The Charis Teaching Farm is situated on a long-standing rice paddy. The topography is overwhelmingly flat with a very low grade.
We are fortunate that this farm comes with two well-sized reservoirs at the top of our fields. We use these during the dry season when water is scarce and crops are thirsty. We are also fortunate to be close to the local area reservoir with two canals that run parallel to our farm. The dam releases its water between four and six times each dry season making is possible for us to grow on a larger amount of land.
Our farm was used primarily for rice prior to us taking up tenancy. The natural grade of the land is very flat with only a couple foot drop in elevation from the top end to the bottom. What this means for our farm is that our fields flood during wet season and is parched during dry season. Because we grow rice on only 60% of our land, we have altered the topography slightly to help diversify the crops we are able to grow. To do this, we have widened the dividing hills (kanaas) between each of our fields. This gives us a wider place to both walk and grow various crops like chilis, beans, eggplant, bananas and papaya. In our higher fields (all our rice fields are in the lower fields) we are attempting to raise our land by digging smaller reservoirs and placing excess dirt on on the fields.
We have a small tree-dense area at the very top of our farm. Our reservoirs and farmhouse are located here. This area tends to be much cooler than our fields and presents us with various experimental/demonstration opportunities.
For those interested, we have been keeping record of the overall land use of our farm. They are made available here for those interested in learning what crops we plant when and where.