Natural Process Farming
The “Natural Process” farming methods being implemented on our farm were developed by visionary farmer Bob Cannard. Farmer Thomas Herzog was privileged to learn this method of farming from Bob himself during his year-long internship/employment at Green String Farm in Sonoma County from 2011 to 2012.
What is “Natural Process” Farming?
~No synthetic chemicals of any kind (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.)
~No pesticides of any kind (organic or conventional)
~Minimum tillage (no more than 2 – 3 crops per plot per year)
~Full maturity cover cropping (providing the soil a steady state food supply)
~Applying broad-spectrum mineral supplement
~Restoring indigenous soil biota
Past civilizations depended on the floodplains as the most fertile land for cultivation of agricultural crops. The silt deposits of the Nile River were so fertile it is said that the entire civilization of Ancient Egypt was built by the Nile.
The fertility of floodplains is due to regular applications of “mountain tea” where cascading streams bring water rich in minerals and biology from erosion of the mountains above.
The biology from the mountains consists predominantly of aerobic microbes that thrive in the oxygen rich environment created by ripping, rolling rivers.
These aerobic microbes are essential for further breaking down the minerals present in the mountain rocks and in the floodplain soil. Once broken down these minerals become readily available to the plants. Our farming methods mimic this natural process through application of crushed volcanic rock and compost teas to our soil.
Crushed igneous rock (AKA Stone Meal) is applied to the fields to restore all the trace minerals in the soil. These trace minerals are essential building blocks to the plant’s immune system and to the immune system of those who consume the plants.
In natural process farming there is no such thing as pests. We treat all “pests” as an indicator of soil health and if a plant is getting overrun by some type of bug it is obvious that the plant is missing something essential to the proper functioning of its immune system.
The digestive forces of the soil are built up by applying compost and compost teas which are pre-inoculated with the local indigenous soil biota. Your local soil biota is already acclimated to your climate and will do the best job of making all the minerals in the Stone Meal available to the plants.
As a Natural Process farmer Thomas experiments with compost teas and various trace mineral supplements to try to improve the health of the plant, rather than covering up the deficiency like most conventional and even organic farmers choose to do.
Are We Certified Organic?
Our farm is not currently certified organic but that does not mean that our farming methods lack integrity. Did you know that when you purchase organic you are not necessarily getting produce free from pesticides?
It is true, the National Organic Program (NOP) allows the use of pesticides derived from natural substances or living organisms if they do not contain prohibited synthetic (man-made) additives. Even a few synthetic inputs are allowed in organic production (a list of these substances can be found in section 205.601 of the National List). Although the use of pesticides is typically a last resort for conventional and organic farmers alike we pride ourselves on the fact that our natural process farm never uses pesticides of any kind, conventional or organic.
So why the holdout on organic certification? We had a lot of work to do this past year to get the farm operational. This year we decided to focus our efforts on providing you with the best quality produce, educating you on our progress through social media, and throwing an amazing open house for our community. We fully support organic farming and hope to be certified soon.
Our sustainable farming practices produce food free of chemicals and grown with respect for the environment and humanity. We strive to provide you and your family with the most nutrient rich food available by nature.
Here’s to your health