Sustainable Farming…What is it?

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Nothing beats homegrown, farm fresh produce! And we often get the question, is your produce organic? While it is not certified organic, here at Good Harvest Farms, we are committed to sustainable farming, making our produce naturally delicious! Don’t you appreciate knowing where your produce comes from and how it is grown? Let us tell you how we farm here at Good Harvest Farms! 

What is Sustainable Farming?

When you think of large farms, you are thinking of those farms that practice industrial crop production, which generally relies on monocropping, meaning they only grow one crop in a large area of land.These farms use intensive applications of fertilizers and pesticides, and other inputs, that are damaging to the environment, communities, and to the farm workers.

Sustainable farming is a practice in which produce is grown in an ecologically and ethically responsible way. Sustainable farming allows farmers to feed the world without damaging the environment or threatening human health. Sustainable farming includes adhering to agricultural and food production practices that support and sustain local communities. There are a number of different practices for sustainable farming, including:

  • Mutlicropping: In this method of planting crops, multiple varieties of crops are planted on one piece of land, either during the same growing season or in successive growing seasons. This includes intercropping, meaning two or more crops of different characteristics are planted in close proximity. Intercropping reduces weeds, encourages plant diversity to avoid insect and pest infestation, and provides other nutritional benefits to the plants being grown, all naturally, without the use of chemicals. This also includes crop rotation, changing what is planted in a particular location from season to season.

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  • Minimal to No Pesticide Use: At Good Harvest Supply, we practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), as well as intercropping and crop rotation, to naturally control pests. Integrated Pest Management is a system that uses principles such as identifying and monitoring pests before they become a threat,  preventing pests before they reach damaging levels, and using plants that are natural insect repellents. IPM includes manual removal, as well, such as weeding or trapping. Sometimes, sustainable farmers will use the release of beneficial insects and organisms as well to, when released, destroy harmful pests. With IPM, pesticides are generally used very sparingly, only when other methods fail. 
  • Additional Practices: There is also the focus on soil health, using organic fertilizer and less to no tilling, plus reducing the use of heavy machinery. Soil health is a critical component, as there is some evidence that sustainably grown plants may be higher in nutrients resulting from increased soil health. At Good Harvest Supply we also choose sustainable seeds and plant varieties, with no GMOs, including heirloom varieties. And practicing water conservation and sustainable irrigation are also important components to practicing sustainable farming.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics literally means “working water” and is an advanced process of growing produce in nutrient packed water. This growing method eliminates dirt particles from the produce since it does not require soil. The hydroponic process also protects produce from environmental pollutants since it is contained in a greenhouse and the constant flow of fresh water provides nourishment and deters insects. Here at Good Harvest Farms, we have a 4,000 square-foot hydroponic greenhouse that supplies you with lush, homegrown lettuce that is handpicked fresh for you! 

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Benefits of Sustainable Farming

So now that you know what sustainable farming is, and the different components of it, you want to know what the benefits are and how sustainable grown produce is different from other produce, right? Well, sustainable farming aims to support local communities by protecting and maintaining the farmland. Eating sustainably grown produce provides numerous health benefits, including decreased exposure to pesticides, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and unhealthful food additives. It also increases the consumption of certain nutrients and antioxidants. And last, but not least, eating sustainably means that you are supporting a more environmentally and socially responsible food system and keeping the food dollars within the local community. 

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