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We encourage new farmers to use ecological farming practices. We believe farmers are important stewards of our land and ecosystems. We also believe ecological, diversified and human scaled farm business models can be more economically resilient, healthy and rewarding for farmers.
Starting at the ground level – a living, fertile, vibrant soil ecosystem is the foundation for any ecological farm business. Vibrant, fertile and living soils are vital for healthy, resilient crops and livestock. Less disease and pest management, better weathering of droughts and flooding, and tastier food are better for the bottom line.
Ecological farming generally involves a diversity of crops, animals and methods. Management techniques include cover crops, green manures, composting, mulching, crop rotation, no till cropping and the use of animal waste to maintain fertility. Diversification provides integrated farm systems, complementary production cycles and infrastructure as well as a form of income insurance that helps with production and price fluctuations.
Energy use and off-farm inputs are minimized. In a time of rising oil costs and decreasing fossil fuel supplies, a great dependence on off-farm and non-renewable energy, fertility and chemical sources is both environmentally and economically unsustainable. At the end of the day, entrepreneurial ecological farmers aim to have more control over the costs of their farm inputs and operations and thus more control over their bottom lines.
While we do not exclusively support certified organic agriculture, the rigorous standards in organic certification can prove an effective way for a farmer to convey their ecological management practices to the end consumer.