Organic vs. Non-Organic
Location: Fully Belly Farm, Capay Valley, CA
Featuring: Judith Redmond
In 1985 Judith Redmond and her partners had a different idea. Their different idea was organic farming. At the time, California’s Farm Bureau said organic farming was a fool’s errand and a certain path to poverty. Universities had conducted experiments that “proved” organic farming had zero yields compared to conventional; unfortunately, the scientists hadn't considered soil fertility or what it would take to mitigate insects and weeds. They also had no idea what organic farmers were doing. They wanted to show that their major research and investment in chemical agriculture was justified.
"Basically when we started,” she said, “there was practically no organic market out there.”
Redmond and friends persevered based on what they knew as farmers. They knew that without chemical fertilizers there was a lower concentration of nitrogen in organic farm soils and because of this their plants have greater root mass. The plants hardier roots can probe deeper, working harder to extract needed micronutrients and moisture, resulting in organic food that's richer in phytochemicals and essential nutrients.
“We believe in [organic farming]," said Redmond. "We are trying to find the balance between economic viability and the kind of farming that we want to do.”