We grow using methods that are safe for our family and our community. That extends well beyond us as human beings and engulfs our entire environment.
Since we first started farming we’ve used only sustainable, responsible and thoughtful methods. We would not grow produce any other way. Besides following our own strict standards, we follow the USDA National Organic Program standards and are Certified Organic.
Certified organic means that a third party annually certifies that our farm never uses GMO seeds or any synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and buildings, detailed record keeping, and testing of soil and water to ensure that we are meeting the strict organic standards which have been set.
More specifically, here are some of the responsible growing methods we use:
- We use row cover (plant blankets) over susceptible plants to deter certain insects. (The picture at right shows farmer Joe on his bike riding past a few rows of cabbage, Asian greens, and kohlrabi covered with row cover which protects the crops from hungry insects.)
- On the farm we have many natural areas to encourage beneficial insects, animals, and native plants.
- Instead of reaching for herbicides, we weed by hand and with hand tools, and cultivate with a small tractor.
- Soil fertility is achieved through a variety of methods including manure, cover crops (specific crops grown to add nutrients to the soil), compost, letting the soil “rest”, and rotating crops.
A statement about the real cost of food from a CIAS-UW Madison handout:
“The price you pay for your food may or may not include all of the costs associated with it, such as costs to the environment and to the health of those who produce and consume it. Learn all you can about the food you buy—your choices matter!“ Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UW-Madison