Biological Farming: Why farm Biologically? + What is Biological farming?
Welcome to our first post in our series of Biological Farming 101, in which we will be looking at lots of areas of our farming practices and how we tackle tasks around the farm. Such as pruning, pest control, science of remineralizing our soils, and many more. We will be posting a new entry every month (near the end), so be sure to keep coming back!
In this first post we are going to cover why we have chosen to farm biological, what it means to us, and what it means to you, our customers. If you have any questions at the end, please leave us a comment, we would love to answer your questions!
Why We Farm Biological
In 2003 we decided to go certified organic. After three years of transition, in 2006, we became Certified Organic. But that wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to do more, to do better, for our customers, and for our soils. Today, we are Biological Farmers using certified organic inputs. Just because a farm is certified organic, that doesn’t mean the farmer is embracing the soil biology or minerals. What certified organic does is guarantee that your food will be free of GMO’s and pesticides. We wanted more, we wanted Nutrient Density.
What is Biological Farming?
Biological farming is like going back to old school, to a time before NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilizers were common place instead are used more judicially. Biological farming looks at the whole picture in a holistic way. Examining exactly what is in the soil; considering all 79 minerals, and the delicate balance of them in the soil food web. An end result that can be directly seen by the farmer and consumer is the final products improved Nutrient Density.
What we found when we first started farming biologically was that our soils were deficient of all 79 minerals including soil carbon, which is the food and shelter for microbes. It’s necessary to have minerals to feed microbes, the microbes in turn solubilize the minerals. Making them available to the plant. It is these 79 minerals in a balanced for in the plant that make Nutrient Dense food.
A Note About Nutrient Density
I’m sure we’ve all seen things in the super market with the labeling of “Nutrient Dense” but what does that actually mean? In Biological Farming it means more minerals per ounce of food and that requires active biology in the soil. Those “Nutrient Dense” labels you see in the supermarkets are often labeled that way because of the absence of problematic ingredients- fat, sugar, and sodium- not for the inclusion of of beneficial nutrients they might contain. This is because there is no regulated way for food labeling of Nutrient Density, even though there are regulated ways for testing for it.
The difference between Biological Farming and Certified Organic Farming?
The simplest way to think about the differences in the two farming practices is that Certified Organic Farming doesn’t use salt based fertilizers, or pesticides. Biological farming is taking it to the next level in looking at the whole picture and how to improve, and restore the soil biology and mineralization.
Benefits of Biological Farming the farmer sees
Biological farming is not the short term solution most farmers are use to. These farmers are use to going out applying a fertilizer or pesticide and seeing results in a few days, this can make them impatient with how Biological farmers handle the same problems. Biological farmers see long term solutions to their problems, which is also tied into their holistic approach. Another benefit we’ve already touched on is Nutrient Density, having a higher nutrient density can be seen through BRIX- sugar content and soluble solids- which also means higher yields. Most crops are sold based on a measurement of weight, and the heavier crop, the more yield the farmer sees. In biological farming quality drives yield where as in conventional farming (or even certified organic farming) yield drives dilution of nutrition.
What this means for consumers?
The biggest way that consumers are going to see a benefit is the nutrient density of biologically grown foods. We hope that this also results in, instead of taking vitamins and supplements everyday, you get to eat a delicious bowl of berries, or other produce that your body can get all the minerals and vitamins from, to keep you healthy in a natural way; in other words, food will replace supplements.