On a recent flight from Texas to Connecticut, John saw a bird’s eye view of our conventional agricultural system: row after dusty row of a single crop, whether corn or soy or wheat, stretching into miles of a man-made monocrop desert, leaving little room for nature. This is in stark contrast to what we would glimpse flying over the organic farms here in Woodbury and our neighboring towns. These family-scale farms are often diversified—meaning farmers plant their fields in an array of crops, perhaps dotting annual vegetables in between perennial orchards, and may also rotate animals on their pastures—rather than allotting the entirety of their farmland to monoculture.
These landscapes are rich in ecological biodiversity too, starting with the soil. Organic farming practices prioritize healthy soil—which yields healthy produce—through planting cover crops, adding compost, leaving fields fallow to regenerate, and reducing tillage. Organic farmers also forgo applications of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Below ground, the soil is literally teeming with life: from the microscopic soil bacteria and fungal mycorrhizae to the more easily identified ants and earthworms. Above ground, the fields are just as alive. In one hour spent on a nearby organic farm in Roxbury, the wildlife tally included a turkey, a white-tailed deer, a flock of Canada geese, and the stunning silhouette of a Great Blue heron, not to mention the countless songbirds and insect life left unidentified.
We believe that organic farming is our single best hope for not only preserving our natural communities but also for feeding ourselves now and for future generations. In the face of climate change, organic agriculture has a proven record of capturing atmospheric CO2 and sequestering it in the soil through the natural biological process of photosynthesis. To borrow from the Rodale Institute: “organic farming is farming like life on earth matters.” This September, and every month, we’re celebrating all things organic. You can too by choosing foods from organic farms for your table. Invest in a bright future by buying organic.