Our goal is to farm in harmony with Earth's natural processes to the maximum extent possible. We aim to mimic nature in order to farm sustainably so our planet's natural resources can be available for generations to come. We prioritize increasing soil health and biodiversity in order to produce the most nutrient-dense foods possible. We do not utilize any synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides on our farm.
More details below, if you're interested!
Details about how we farm sustainably
Healthy food starts with healthy soil. Healthy soil contains a vast amount of microbial life that is needed in order to sustain food production. We practice no-till farming in order to protect the soil's biology as much as possible. Tillage damages soil microbiology and, over time, turns fertile soil to sand. We feed our soil with organic matter from dead plants and animal manure (compost).
Integrating livestock (e.g., chickens), into crop rotation systems benefits both the animals and the soil they leave behind. They process left over plant material when an area is taken out of agricultural production. Their manure is a natural fertilizer for the soil. Animals are never moved through areas in active food production, as this could pose contamination risks. Manure needs to rest for a period of time before it can be integrated safely into the soil.
Increasing biodiversity allows for natural processes to do some of the work for us. For example, local food chains control for pest populations. It also creates a more resilient farm in the face of climate change. Some crops may suffer in a year of drought, while others thrive.
Cover crops play an important role in farming responsibly. They are often used when an area of soil is not in active production with crops grown for immediate income. They provide a vital root system to keep soil from eroding during heavy rains or wind. They also help store water in the ground. Additionally, cover crops pull carbon from the atmosphere as they grow and build biomass (as opposed to bare soil, which can release carbon into the atmosphere). Lastly, when cover crops are terminated in order to put an area of land back into agricultural production, the organic matter that they have produced can be used to feed the soil.
Integrated Pest Management
Although we do not use pesticides, we still face challenges with controlling unwanted pests (for example, aphids). In lieu of using synthetic chemicals, we use biological processes such as attracting beneficial insects (e.g., ladybugs or lacewings), who are natural predators of many pests, by planting flowers to specifically attract these insects. We also use some varieties of crops that are bred to be resistant to certain pests. Additionally, we manipulate the environment by using netting or other physical barriers to keep pests off our crops. All of this helps promote a healthy ecosystem and does not create a risk to human or animal health.
On-farm & Community Composting
In an effort to decrease our carbon footprint, we produce as much on-farm compost as possible using a traditional turn-pile. We also have a vermicompost system where food scraps are converted to worm castings (poop) by our worm friends, which in turn can also feed the soil's microbiology. We are thrilled to start a community compost collection here in Suffield right at our roadside stand.