Our farm has been in our family a long time. Our children are at least the 6th generation of our family to live on this farm, and likely it goes back even farther. It’s our home and we are bonded to it in a profound, inexpressable way.
So part of the reason we do what we do is to take care of the piece of ground that has been entrusted to us. We believe we are stewards of this little slice of creation and we want it to be around to enrich and bless future generations with beauty, food and the sublime satisfaction that comes from being part of something good.
We have to chosen to grow food here naturally–without using any pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer. It took a long time and a lot of work to heal this land from the harm caused by decades of intensive, chemical-based tobacco farming. But the change has been magnificent and now the land is revealing itself as it was meant to be, and rewarding us with abundant harvests of healthy food.
We don’t use pesticides and herbicides, because we don’t believe poison should be applied to food. We deal with pests and weeds the way humans have for thousands of years. We cooperate with nature and we’re finding that once a natural balance is allowed to return, we have far fewer problems with pests. Of course, farming this way does require a lot of work and our yields may sometimes be lower than those of chemical farms. But we’re OK with that. We appreciate the value of work which is good and we’re willing to trade yield for goodness.
We make our own compost and we fertilize our gardens with it and with manure from the farm. We don’t use any unnatural fertilizers. Relying, as they do, on petroleum products, they are unnatural and the process is unsustainable. Juicing the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium may increase yields in the short term, but there is much more to healthy soil than just N, P and K. Reliance on this type of fertilizer is a principal reason that foods produced this way have less nutrients than those produced naturally. The plants can only return that which they take from the soil. If the necessary minerals aren’t in the soil, then they aren’t in the food.
We refuse to raise animals inhumanely. The animals on our farm are cared for and allowed to live as natural a life as possible. We would never confine them intensively and we refuse to participate in such cruel and dangerously unhealthy practices. We don’t raise mutant breeds designed to satisfy unnatural appetites and unable to survive in nature.
We believe that the best economies are local economies. We believe that it is foolish for our community to rely on food shipped from thousands of miles away, when we are surrounded by some of the best farm land on the planet.
It may be naive of us, but part of the reason we do this is to encourage others to live more natural, healthy lives. We want folks to enjoy the good health that comes with good food and good living. We are saddened by the poor health of our community and we want to be a part of improving that. I suppose that makes us evangelists.
At least one day a week we donate everything we harvest to God’s Storehouse, the local food bank in Danville. In August alone we were privileged to donate 323 pounds of fresh vegetables and 22 dozen eggs. We believe in sharing what we grow with those in need.
There is much more to our philosphy and practices than I’ve shared here. For more, just poke around the archives of this blog, or check out Cherie’s blog HERE.
Finally, we very strongly believe that Love Wins.