Long Life Farm utilizes organic farming techniques. This means that we follow the guidelines set out in the National Organic Program (NOP) overseen by the USDA. Organic farming includes the use of compost, crop rotation and the absence of synthetic fertilizers and insecticides. In 2011, we could market ourselves as “Organic, exempt”. This meant that we did not need to certify to use the “organic” term since we did not exceed the revenue threshold. We plan on preparing the paperwork to apply for organic certification in the future.
While there are many benefits for buying organic produce, organically grown produce is not necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown produce. This has been a topic of much debate.
I am a student and supporter of the Real Food Campaign now known as the Bionutrient Food Association. This organization is educating farmers on how to make food more nutritious. Why? For the last 100 years, the USDA has been tracking the nutrient level of vegetables and has found most vegetables’ nutrition content have declined 20-40% since 1920. 350 years of conventional farming, weather and land development in the US has left our soils deplete of the key minerals that people and animals need to get from their food in order to stay healthy.
We are striving to go beyond organic to grow more nutritious, nutrient dense vegetables that give people the minerals they need to fight disease. Vegetables that are nutrient dense also taste better and have longer shelf life. Plants that are grown have healthier immune systems and are less prone to insect damage and disease.
Biannually we will be doing soil testing on our fields. These tests will give us an indication of what minerals and trace elements are needed to grow nutritious food. Soil testing in September of both fields tells us we need Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Sulphur, Magnesium, Boron, Manganese, Copper, Cobalt, Zinc and Molybdenum. Do you recognize these from high school chemistry? All the amendments we add are OMRI listed (Organic Materials Review Institute).
Remineralization does not happen overnight, it will take many years to get our soils up to where they need to be to increase the nutrient value of our food. We are excited about this journey.