We aren’t organic growers. That isn’t because we don’t appreciate organically grown food, but because the process of becoming a certified organic farm is lengthy and expensive. We may be certified one day, but for now we are focusing on growing plants without inputs of industrial fertilizers or artificial chemical insecticides. Our approach draws heavily on permaculture, which literally means “permanent agriculture” (or permanent culture) and focuses on sustainability.
Permaculture relies on observing, following, and emulating natural ecological processes. For example, rather than spraying to kill pests, we encourage populations of predatory insects that keep pests in check. One key to this system is recycling organic matter and nutrients. This is a big change from what has become traditional agriculture in these parts of the country. Part of our work is in building biodiversity–not just by growing heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of vegetables, but also by planting and encouraging native vegetation, even where we aren’t actively harvesting. It’s a long road, and one we are just starting to walk.