One of the important shifts in understanding, for consumers - as well as growers, is to recognize that the healthiness and flavor of the food on our plates is the result of choices made even before the seeds were put in the ground.
And one of the elemental pieces of wisdom being passed from organic farmers to fellow growers – farmers as well as ornamental gardeners – and to the consumer is that it is the HEALTH of the SOIL that is the best measure of sustainability.
Two of Hawaii’s pre-eminent organic growers say in their workshops
“Remember, you are GROWING SOIL, not just plants. With healthy soil, the plants will grow themselves”
Gerry Hebert and Nancy Redfeather, Kawanui Farms, Honalo, South Kona
Why Feed the Soil?
Below is a chart adapted from Eliot Coleman’s “The New Organic Grower” to help us understand the foresight of intentionally building healthy soil versus the short sight of just ‘feeding the plants’ with chemical inputs that try to compensate for lifeless soils.
Organic = Feeding The Soil
(creating healthy soil resources for current and future crops)
Conventional = Feeding The Plant
(synthetic support for only the current crop/no resources to help future crops)
Sustainable w/ long term benefits
Feeding the soil creates a lasting resource that we can enjoy food from today and that is also a gift to future generations of farmers – AND diners! Healthy soil today – even healthier families tomorrow, a good, practical farmer-to-consumer motto to live by.