Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sustainably grown, not Organic

The Organic movement has taken off, and is becoming big business. Organic certification means that there is some guarantee that what you are buying is not contaminated with potentially harmful chemicals or excess antibiotics. Organic products are now available at all the standard Big Box stores--often produced by a small number of huge agricultural firms. The expense of organic certification is high enough that many small growers find it to be prohibitive.

We like the term 'sustainably grown.' We grow our vegetables without artificial chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. We also recycle nutrients--from the garden to the pigs, chickens, and compost bin back to the garden. And, we look at the garden (and the rest of the farm) as an ecosystem where the depth of the food web is important. Sustainable growing also means ethically grown, so our chickens and pigs get fresh air and pasture, not boxes and cages. Where we can, we work with hoes and hand tools instead of gas-powered equipment to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases.

There are also other certification programs, notably Certified Naturally Grown, that we may pursue in the future. For now, we are sticking with methods that will ensure that this land is productive for another 175 years.