Volume 8, Week 27, February 22-28, 2015
The discipline of organic farming is all about life. We celebrate life, encourage life and make a living managing the kinds of life that enhance our crops and flocks and discouraging the types that detract. Much like the definition of a weed—an unloved flower—not all life is beneficial to successful farming.
But in a biological setting, all types by definition must coexist. The simplest example is your crop, and a bug who wants to eat it. The example from this week is the fragile blooms and various blossom blight type fungi, virus and bacteria that are floating about hoping to land on an unprotected flower, infect it, and then lie dormant until the fruit converts into sugar near harvest and bazowie! Reproduce its kind in the form of fruit decay.
So what we do is manage life and this is a really key distinction folks that you can use to astound your friends and come off as a really profound thinker; you don’t need to reveal your source. A conventional farmer typically uses chemistry to eliminate unwanted life and the tools of his trade end in “cide” or killer, as in pesticide, herbicide, nematicide, and this week, fungicide. An organic farmer typically uses biology and his tools reflect an encouragement of inter-related life that is beneficial to his crop as in beneficial insects, plant density, crop rotation and this week, probiotics.
Probiotic is just a fancy word for the type of beneficial microorganisms (loved flowers) you want. As an example, I throw a capful of probiotics in my smoothie every morning to boost the good guys in my gut from whence cometh my immune system and son of a gun, I just don’t get sick; could be a coincidence.
We are right now spraying probiotics on our blooms encouraging the good guys to take up residence and thus crowd out the bad guys. This strategy gets us some strange looks from our neighbors who would rather just kill the bad guys than live with them, and did I mention we really like life?!
The big secret of Abundant Harvest Organics that separates us from others is the concept of precycling. Even many long-time co-producers who participate each week, see it, hold it, live it, and love it, still don’t get it, so it’s important to review.
(Please ignore this message if you’re a true co-producer.) The most wasteful part of our current North American food system is packaging, and we saw from the very beginning that if we could eliminate this waste, it would go a long way toward getting our co-producers fresh organic produce for the price of not so fresh conventional produce. We call this precycling—which is way better than recycling—because the waste never existed.
We provide your farmers sanitized plastic crates, baskets, and bins so that produce flows in from the farm waste-free. You see this on farm tours and that part’s working great.
You have paid a box fee to purchase 2 boxes, the one you bring back and the one you pick-up. It’s the bringing back part that isn’t working and just isn’t sustainable. It’s hard for me to get my mind around people who would participate in a weekly from-the-farm produce system sabotaging their own food source by not returning the crates, but that’s what 2% each week do. Because I’ve refused to believe it, I’ve been way too slow dealing with the numbers that stare us in the face each week.
Guys, I really hate this part. I want this to be about love and fresh organic and working together, but we just can’t go on like this. The saddest part is, the honest are going to end up with the same result as the dishonest.
Let me say this one last time as clearly and kindly from the heart as I can and please only accept what applies.
If you want Abundant Harvest Organics to continue in its present form and you have Christmas decorations, office supplies, kids toys or anything else in the AHO boxes, you’ve got to go up in the attic, under the bed or in the trunk, clean ’em out and bring ’em back. Nuff said.