Location: Star Route Farms, Bolinas, CA
Featuring: Warren Weber
Organic is farming using natural systems and inputs with a view toward a sustainable future. Warren Weber has the oldest continuously certified farm in California.
Why buy organic?
Because organic contributes to the health of the soil, the plants, the workers, and the consumers.
Why grow organic?
Apart from not polluting the soil, the aquifers, and ourselves, growing organic ensures that you are building soils for future generations and doing so in a way that maintains a balance of critical natural resources.
Warren Weber says that 35 years ago, most "experts" thought organics couldn't produce so many different crops in so many different regions of the world. They were wrong. In the 1950's, 20% of commerical farms in California were under 10 acres. Many of these farms were successful doing small crops. That model fell apart as mega farms emerged and food became a commodity. The only way for small farms to survive was to go organic. Star Route was the first in California.
Location: Pastures of Plenty, Boulder, Co
Featuring: Lyle, the Accidental Farmer, and Joel, the farmworker
Organic flowers, like the pictured Black-eyed Susans, don't use any artificial or chemically derived nutrients, pesticides or herbicides. Only minimal use of organic approved herbicides and pesticides are applied.
Farmer Lyle was raised in NY’s Hudson Valley. His father subscribed to Organic Garden Magazine in the 50's. When he bought this land in Boulder, he didn’t intend to start a market farm. It just happened. Now they grow over a hundred varieties of flowers and vegetables on 35 acres.
Why should flowers be organically grown if they aren't going to be eaten? Lyle says that conventional flower production requires the same chemical inputs (herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides) used in conventional agriculture. Because flowers aren’t eaten, workers in this industry are subjected to some of the worst human rights violations, not to mention environmental pollution, hence his decision to go organic.
A set of regulated crop and livestock production practices that aim to avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, growth hormones, and livestock feed additives.
Roy began operating his dairy in 1987. By 2001, he decided to make a change and go organic. “My Dad believed that the synthetic chemicals used in many farming practices were causing illnesses such as cancer," Kurt observes. "He also noticed physical changes in the leaf shape on his own soybeans after herbicides were used. He thought that if these changes could have such a profound effect on his crop, they could impact our health as well.
"Farming organically is also a great way to raise a family," Kurt continues. "I enjoy the challenges and opportunities it brings. Plus, it's a way for a small family to get into a niche market and make it in today's world while still carrying on a family tradition."
KURT AND HIS FAMILY PROTECT THE CROW RIVER WINDING THROUGH THEIR FIELDS FROM HARMFUL HERBICIDE AND FERTILIZER RUNOFF BY USING A VARIETY OF ORGANIC FARMING PRACTICES.
These practices include vegetative buffers, cover crops, crop rotations, buffer strips, and rotational grazing. He also injects liquid manure into the soil instead of spreading it on the ground, where it would otherwise runoff into nearby waterways. He analyzes soil samples with his field agronomist to reduce the application of excess nutrients on his fields. Still, Kurt believes that conservation and building organic matter don’t depend on whether a farm is organic or conventional … but how the land is managed.