Fresh Facts: Proactive v. Reactive Farming Attitudes

By September 6, 2015Fresh Facts, Newsletter

Since I’ve written about our cabin at Hume Lake, many have asked how things are going with what’s being called the “Rough Canyon Fire.”

Well, Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in North America I’m told and for sure, there’s no way anyone could have done much where it started. Rough Canyon is very apt; vertical, rocky rattle snake country. They tried to put it out with helicopters but to no avail.

There are over 2100 fire fighters on this one; it’s burned over 50,000 acres (80 square miles) with 17% containment.

The good news for us is it’s now burned past Hume and folks are resting better. There were back-fires lit that gave us wider buffer areas.

My visual evaluation prior to this fire was that 1/3 of the standing trees (cedars and sugar pine) died this summer and last from the drought, so while this fire is leaving a beautiful forest black; it’s also performing a cleansing.

They haven’t let us back up, but at least there’s something to go back up to and we’re grateful. Grant’s Grove and the Giant Sequoias are only a few miles from this fire, so the battle still rages for one of America’s most
recognizable treasures.

Okay, back to organic farming. We were talking about the value to your family of Organic food. What’s so exciting to me is the microbiological activity necessary to sustain organic agriculture and it’s these healthy microbes that harvest the nutrition the plants utilize to produce what’s in this box. The same way you can’t be healthy unless the microbes in your digestive system are healthy, an organic plant can’t be healthy without actively healthy biologically fertile soil.
Since all flesh is grass, it really doesn’t matter for this discussion whether you’re an herbivore, carnivore or omnivore, if what you’re fueling yourself with is organic, it’s all about biological soil fertility.

We’re learning a lot, but the big buzzword in all American agriculture right now is “biologicals.” Same with cancer research I’m told. Turning on our body’s own defense mechanisms is the next big thing, and so it is on the farm. If we can get a plant to fight off a disease or pest itself, that’s way more gooder than doing it with toxins.

What’s fascinating to me—as well as the researchers—is; a lot of this is going on in organic farming already. As an example, spider mites—little guys that suck the life out of leaves—used to be a big problem on our farm, needing regular pesticides to control. We haven’t had mites for years now as organic farmers; didn’t happen overnight, but more like a decade. When we get things in proper biological balance, many problems just go away. Same with leaf hoppers in the grapes, they just inexplicably went away.

The mental shift that takes place in a new organic farmer’s brain is switching from being reactive to being proactive. An organic farmer doesn’t have the luxury of waiting ‘till he has a problem and then cleaning it up, because we just don’t have the tools. We organic farmers have to proactively anticipate the problem and prevent it.

Uncle Vern, I thought you were going to tell us why organic food is better for our family, not the principles of farming! And so I have. Because we’ve usually prevented the problem instead of cured it, you’re getting food from healthier plants and animals as well as avoiding the toxins. It’s management intense for us, but chill for you.

Author Uncle Vern

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