Happy National Soil Health Day!
Today and everyday we’re celebrating our promise to nurture and maintain healthy soil. We operate on a strict no pesticide, no herbicide policy and follow the four principles of soil health:
1. Keep The Soil Covered
By keeping the soil covered with mulch or cover crops we’re able to protect from erosion, buffer soil temperature, and capture and utilize rainfall more efficiently.
2. Minimize Soil Disturbance
Disturbance can mean chemically (pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers) or physically (tillage, plowing). We never use chemical inputs and tillage is a treatment tool that we only use when and if the plot calls for it. By using disturbance as a tool and not a convenience or habit, we are able to protect healthy soil and allow the native biology to flourish as nature intends.
3. Maximize Living Roots
Someone once told me that the plants are the solar panels and the soil is the battery that holds the energy captured from the sun. Without this arrangement the energy in the soil cannot be maintained. Life is an energy exchange and the soil is where that exchange initiates. Living roots in the soil at all times continuously feeds the biology, cycles nutrients, and contributes to improved soil structure. We aim to keep beds planted throughout the seasons, whether that’s through cash crops or cover crops.
4. Energize with Diversity
All living things enhance the chemical, physical, and/or biological aspects of the soil which improves and maintains the whole system. In addition to crop rotation, we interplant our crops throughout the season to allow for diversity at all times rather than just year to year. While we do not currently have the opportunity to include livestock in our rotation, we do encourage the activity of native wildlife (like song birds) to interact with and transfer beneficial protozoa across the soil, and to help naturally manage pests.
We can all work towards a world of healthy soil by choosing to purchase from companies that are dedicated to this cause. Talking to and shopping from your local small farmers is the easiest way to get started. You can also look for labeling like Certified Naturally Grown, Certified Humane, Biologically Grown, and Organic.
Farmer’s Footprint Film
Kiss The Ground Film
Reseeding The Food System: An Interview With Rowan White