How We Grow

why farm?

pea and oat cover crop

We decided to pursue organic farming because it felt like the most practical and immediate thing we could do to help create, in our own small way, a better world. But let’s be honest- all human activity including agriculture has a negative effect on the planet. How can we minimize that? How can we be more sustainable? The decision to be certified organic was easy- we support the principles of organic production and don’t want people to have to judge for themselves if we are trustworthy. But not all organic foods are created equally. Large scale organics can still be vast monocultures, using organic pesticides and fungicides, huge amounts of disposable black plastic for weed control, heavy tillage and lengthy transportation. Farming organically is not enough, we need to go beyond the standards. Regenerative, ecological agriculture improves the resources it uses rather than depleting them, and is a holistic approach to farming that considers social, economic and environmental well-being.

so what do we do?

We use cover crops to increase the fertility of the soil, prevent weeds, attract bees and beneficials, and protect the soil over winter. Peas and oats, barley and vetch, and clover and grass mixes add nitrogen and organic matter back to the soil, while buckwheat recovers phosphorus and attracts beneficial insects. Perennial cover crops of red clover and rye grass give us mulch for the garden and compost, flowers all season for the bees and are bringing less fertile areas of the farm back to life.

We ferment alfalfa pellets before adding them to our beds. We make compost from plant matter and spent mushroom substrate. We use seed meals to boost fertility and alfalfa hay for mulching and winter soil coverage. We foliar feed our plants with compost teas and kelp extracts. We test our soil and remineralize appropriately to ensure balanced soil. We use reusable landscape fabric (instead of disposable plastic) to prevent weeds and protect soil. We use silage tarps to reduce tilling, and treat them well so they can be reused year after year. We do our best to minimize waste and creatively repurpose things that would be otherwise thrown away. We use our tractor and rototiller sparingly, when hand tools are too small to get the job done. We do all this to ensure healthy, nutritious food for our community and ourselves while respecting the ecosystem around us.

 

vegetarian vegetables?

Our approach to fertility is plant-based. Because we chose a plant-based vegan lifestyle for ourselves many years ago, we needed to figure out how to grow the same way- why would we feed our vegetables blood and bone meal if we weren’t going to eat (something similar to) that ourselves? We aren’t against using animal inputs in farming- it’s important to use all the waste and manure involved in raising livestock. But on our own land, this was an opportunity to really grow according to our values. Most people (including ourselves before becoming farmers!) don’t think about what their vegetables are eating, and maybe it should’t really matter to you, as long as they are good for you. Either way, let me introduce to you the concept of vegetarian vegetables! But however you eat, know that we value nutrition and make sure our veggies are nutritious and delicious…..you don’t get dinner plate-sized broccoli if your soil isn’t healthy!

 

 

Atomic Red carrots

rainbow chard