Farmer George: My first introduction to organic farming was in Santa Barbara in the late 1970's. A few growers there were following the principles of Howard, Steiner and Rodale. At the time I was just starting my farming life. What I thought I knew then I have forgotten. It was all misinformation. I'm better now though and 35 years later am still learning and amazed by the lessons of Organic Farming!
"To be interested in food and not in food production is clearly absurd" Wendell Berry
As more people today are becoming interested in food and making the connection between the food they source, prepare and eat, Organic Farming has been growing and has entered mainstream retail establishments. But Organic Farming is not mainstream in the farming community.
We organic farmers and ranchers still only make up a small percentage of America's farms. Yet this small group of Organic Farmers continues to provide the safest, most nutritious food available for our families and communities.
Organic Farming is an ever-changing commitment to the principles and values and of the link between those values and Community. This commitment is to the Soil and Community we share. Organic farming is a farmer being a part of that Community and a caretaker of the Soil. On a local level It is about the Community supporting a local farming family by choosing to buy their fruits and vegetables from that family. In turn the farmer provides delicious varieties of fruits and vegetables grown safely using organic techniques.
What separates Organic Farmers from conventional farmers is our commitment to the soil. Organic farmers farm biologically. We nurture the soil as the matrix of the Food Web. We strive to improve the tilth and micro biology of the the soil in order to produce healthy, vigourous plants without the use of chemicals. Conventional farming uses chemicals which destroy soil microbiology. Thus they are forced to use more and more and more chemicals. They add chemically the fertilizers to feed the plants and use chemicals to control the pests.. They are in realty farming in solution, using chemistry to grow their feed.
Simply said, Organic Farmers farm biologically, conventional farmers farm chemically. More and more research being conducted today shows a definitive connection to food microbiology and that food's nutritional profile. True food value is found not just in the "food pyramid" but in the micro nutrients as well. We are just scratching the surface of the health benefits of fresh organic fruit and vegetable. The organic foods we grow contain vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, isoflavones and proanthocyandidins and other micronutrients derived from the Soil Web in which that food is grown. It stands to reason if we nurture the soil carefully and biologically we can begin to produce food which nurtures us.
That is why we farm organically.
To see photos of our farm remember our Instagram is updated regularly: @southcoastfarms
There is lot of consternation in the Organic Community today. Whereas before Organic farmers believed in Organic as a lifestyle and a commitment to Earth, today many growers are entering the organic arena as a marketing strategy.
These growers are practitioners of what I call the Substitute to be Organic Law. The have seen the demand rise annually and they want in on the business. These huge corporate farms which dominate farming today saw a demand from the huge corporate supermarkets. Quickly they did their studies, certified fields, substituted N-P-K and were on their way.
These large growers farm conventionally, with dangerous chemicals, side by side with their "organic" divisions. Often they fumigate a field conventionally, that is poison the earth, wait three years, certify, substitute approved organic materials for chemical ones and saturate organic farming with mainstream thought.
It is a very complex issue, but in the end I suppose we need to be grateful for any organic farms of any type.
However, there is no substitute at any grocery store for locally grown, certified organic, fresh picked fruits and vegetables.
Organic Farmers committed to biological production to improve soil and plant health symbiotically produce the most flavor filled and nutrient dense food available today.
Please support your local certified organic growers.
It is your support, your choice to be proactive in how and where you spend your food dollars, which ultimately dictates how your food is grown, harvested and marketed.
Farmer George and Rebecca are indebted and grateful for your support. Thank you.