On the Radio: Frank's Passionate Love for Deep Ecological Farming!

In the News (again!)

Last week Frank featured on National Radio (again!) and spoke to Jeremy Rose from the Ideas Programme about the technical issues that we face as organic (we prefer the term ecological or biological) farmers. Together with the earlier talk about the CSA back in April, they give you a wonderful insight on what makes us tick here.  Both interviews illustrate the passion, knowledge and commitment that we have to make this farm and CSA work! We just can’t let go of the ‘deep’ feelings we have for organic farming systems!

Shallow versus Deep Organics

One aspect talked about was the steps we are taking to make this farm resilient and ready for the future.  To future proof ecological farming one needs to make the steps from efficiency (shallow) and substitution to ultimately redesign (deep).  

The first step then is to monitor what one puts one to make sure only that is applied that is needed to harvest an optimal crop (instead of maximum). One becomes more in tune with what is happening in the soil and the plants and learns to become more efficient and thus less leaches out to the environment. A good step forward, but there is still more….

The next step, substitution, is relatively easy as one substitutes chemical fertilizers and pesticides with natural ones.

Through looking around I feel efficiency and substiution can both be step one or two, depending on where the particular farmer started. I have seen that while substituting, huge amounts of bought in external products are put onto land and crops to maximise harvestable crops. It does however not yet guarantee that the organic farming system is resilient nor sustainable as one can still over fertilise/spray and poison the land and/or waterways. 

The ultimate step is where one actually redesigns the individual farming system into a holistic system where one moves away from focussing on solving problems (that more often than not fill holes while in the process create larger holes) but instead foccuses on creating synergies that work multiple ways -making it more and more buller proof!. (see also U tube video by Stuart Hill).  

To achieve a full redesign (note: this will never happen, because there is not stop to further future proofing - the system can always be further developed ) is very, very tricky in this world as long as economics rules the world.  According to Stuart, the triple bottom line used in most decision making processes these days is a big farce as long as economics rules the world and social and environmental care are not given the same priority. Real change will therefore not happen!  

Stuart Hill is a social economist from Sydney University has made it his life’s work to study the overarching social aspects that influence the environment (ecosystems). We met him first at the International Conference in 1993 here in Christchurch and have been following his work ever since. If you are interested to learn more about he/ we see the work check out his talk on “Sustainable Futures” for the Permaculture Conference, back in 2011. It’s a 90 minute presentation that brings together his 60 years of work in this area. Long but very entertaining, thought provoking and very true (in our eyes).!

In your CSA shares this week

Fruit Share: Apples and Pears

Small Veggie Share: 1 Broccoli, 1 kg Potatoes or 400-450 grams of Carrots, 3 Brown Onions, 350-450 grams of Beetroot and either a bag of Perpetual spinach, a Florence Fennel, a Celery or some Chicory.

Large Veggie Share: 1 Broccoli, 1 kg Potatoes or 400-450 grams of Carrots, 3 Brown Onions, 350-450 grams of Beetroot, 400-500 grams of baby Turnips, 200 grams of Kale, 400 grams of Leeks, a bunch of Silverbeet, 100 grams of Parsely, and either a bag of Perpetual spinach, a Florence Fennel, a Celery or some Chicory.

Grown with lots of love and passion!


Josje and the farm team.