What Is Organic Farming?
Diversity and ecology is at the heart of organic agriculture. Farming with organic practices honor the soil as a living being, building organic matter and contributing to a healthy environment for the essential micro-organisms to do their work. Off-farm inputs are minimized and purchased in their least processed and least expensive form. Farming organically relies more heavily on labor and creativity to solve pest, disease, and weed problems. These problems are minimized by farming within nature's boundaries, creating habitats for beneficial insects, and using carbon based, biodegradable, pest or weed specific methods of control as a last resort. Organic farming does not use synthetic chemical fertilizer and pesticides. In great effort, we try to prevent problems from establishing themselves by promoting the strength and vitality of our plants and animals and farming within a larger balanced ecosystem.
We believe Elliot Colman's philosophy concerning the complex effects of chemicals applied to the land: "When a farmer applies synthetic chemicals in or around the soil, the soil becomes merely an anchor for plant material. In this "conventional" method of agriculture, plants can receive only air, water, and sunlight from its environment; everything else must be distributed to the plant by the farmer. Plants are commonly fed only the most basic elements of plant life and so are dependent on the farmer to fight all of natures challenges: pests, disease, and drought."
Organic farmers recognize the connection between the health of the earth and the health of our selves. For the last 60 years, agriculture has taken a very dangerous path. We believe we have only begun to see the tragic results of these practices and the unhealthy "American" diet. Cheap food becomes very expensive when we consider the effects of cancers, birth defects, immune system failures, antibiotic resistance, early adolescent puberty, and many other health issues; as well as the polluted soil, air, and water and the disappearance of local farmers and producers.
We use many different tools to achieve the yields we want without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. For fertility we use cover crops such as hairy vetch and other legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil.