The U.S. industrial farming system has largely left natural fertilizers behind in favor of chemical-based fertilizers in the search for more efficiency and higher yields. But there’s a downside to increased productivity – chemicals strip the soil of its nutrients and damage the natural biome. Farmers have known for millennia that manure, compost and other organic matter benefit the soil. But solid organics are heavy and difficult to spread over the millions of acres of farmland that need it.
We’ve recently invested in a company with an exciting product that gets around both of these problems. Read more about California Safe Soil’s new Harvest-to-Harvest liquid fertilizer made from food waste.
Even though farmers don’t blindly follow outmoded aphorisms of the trade, like measuring corn “knee-high by the Fourth of July”, many do still abide by old habits. Some apply manure annually in November regardless of weather or land conditions. Many do their best to adapt to the season’s rainfall, yet treat all their farmland the same way, regardless of how that land varies across acreage. And that hurts their bottom lines—and the environment. A new technology, however, has the potential to push farming forward by helping farmers grow more with less impact on the environment.
We’re happy to announce that our Stamford office is the newest CSA distribution point for Chubby Bunny Farm, a small family farm in Litchfield County, Conn., committed to sustainable farming practices. Members get a box of farm-fresh produce every Tuesday afternoon. Learn more about the CSA and find out how to sign up…
If you’ve ever sipped a cup of shade-grown coffee, you’ve savored the fruits of agroforestry, the subject of a new USDA report about an age-old practice now used by growers in developing nations to boost production and profits while conserving resources and promoting biodiversity. Using shade trees, an agroforestry practice called “forest farming,” reduces stress on coffee crops, retains moisture, and shelters pest-eating, pollinating critters, all of which means a better product and healthier operation.
A project called Just One Tree has a singular but ambitious goal: to make sure San Francisco can grow all the lemons it consumes. To do this, the community will need to produce 461 tons of lemons annually—that’s a lot of lemons! But Dr. Isabel Wade, founder and executive director of Just One Tree, thinks it’s possible. She’s put together a program to encourage residents to plant new lemon trees and register existing ones to meet the goal.
Practiced for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur is the process of making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. The result is a low-maintenance garden that doesn’t require irrigation or fertilization. Hugelkulture beds have naturally good drainage and produce incredibly rich, fertile soil that retains moisture. It’s also a great way to upcycle woody debris. Hugelkultur is often utilized in permaculture systems and even works in the desert!
Insects contain more protein per pound than any meat and are easy to raise with little polluting side effects. Will we all eat insects in the future?
Hello Compost launches a program to help low-income New York City residents trade in their food waste for locally grown fresh produce.
One of the critical hurdles that farmers in urban areas face is access to affordable land for growing food. The concept of a multi-locational or decentralized farm is an elegant solution to growing food in diverse urban and suburban settings. It seems that more and more farms are using the multi-locational model. We found quite a few successful operations in Canada in particular.