I’m often asked this question, because quite frankly, people have a right to know. Of course, like most organic farms, we use all OMRI organic listed products in the operation of our system. We also don’t use any harmful synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, nematocides, fungicides or preservatives.
But rather than sticking a seed in the ground and giving it some fertilizer from time to time, we take it a big step further.
For years, we have spent a great deal of finances, time, and energy rigorously researching and testing all of the elements that create the best farming system. We have collected scientific data and we have consulted with the best scientists in a range of fields to design our agricultural system.
Just about anyone can start a small vegetable garden in their back yard or even put together a community farm which will grow some food. But keeping everything alive, growing food out of season, keeping destructive pests out without using harmful chemicals, and producing high yields of nutrient filled food is a challenging task, if not near impossible. This is especially difficult when space is limited or the climate conditions for the area are harsh. This is what led us to our research so many years ago.
We have tested a long list of organic fertilizers, which combination of fertilizers work together efficiently, various soil mixes, integrative pest management methods, multiple soil amendments, the effects of various microorganisms, and dozens of other critical factors which allow us to achieve the results that we have attained.
For us, the best farming system is one that is comprised of several key elements:
- Provides the desired produce varieties all year long, regardless of the growing season. While claiming to be sustainable, most local farms only have produce available a few months out of the year, and the selections are limited. By implementing eco-structures (controlled environments for our plants), we are able to give consumers access to the food they want in the hottest months of the summer and the coldest months of the winter. Because our produce yields are so high, the energy cost associated with a controlled environment are feasible, and we are able to pass this benefit along to the consumer.
- Creates the healthiest possible plant thus producing the healthiest possible vegetables and fruit for the consumer – food which is fortified with the highest level of macro and micro nutrients, minerals, and the other healthy things that give the human body what I needs to function properly
- Through proper plant nutrition and the use of beneficial microorganisms, a system which bypasses the need for the heavy use of organic pesticides, uses less fertilizer, and produces plants that are disease resistant and can withstand harsher climate extremes
- Uses various biological supplements to decrease the amount of water that is needed – water is a precious resource that should not be wasted as it is in most farming systems by runoff and poor soil quality
- Creates a wide range of vegetable varieties that are deliciously full of flavor (heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, beans, melons, specialty items) –unfortunately, many community farms are failing to grow the produce varieties that people want
- Can be used to provide food to communities in any climate condition, under any weather extreme, and with little resources – not only is our mission to provide locally grown food to the North Florida area, but we are also committed to feeding people across the globe through the implementation of our system
- Generates the highest yield per plant while at the same time using the smallest amount of space – using more land means using more water, machinery, unnecessary labor, and inflated cost – these are all resources that are difficult to come by, especially in countries which are struggling. By using a significantly smaller amount of space, our system also allows farmlands to be reclaimed back to a natural state (for native animals, native plants, etc)
By including all of these elements into our farm, we have created an agricultural system which is truly sustainable.
In other words, it can continue to exist without damaging the environment, it doesn’t rely on non-renewable resources that may cease to exist in the future, it operates in an affordable manner, and it financially supports the people and farmers in the community. To us, and hopefully to you, this is what makes a good farm.