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November 11, 2015

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Folks ask us all of the time about organic farming. For most people, they understand organic farming as not using poisons. While that is certainly a big part of organic farming, it’s not the whole story. There is much, much more to the tale.

Believe it or not, there are many different types of organic farms. From the huge corporate agribusinesses like Horizon and Kellogg and Pepsi (for a great chart showing who owns organic brands, check out this pdf from The Cornucopia Institute) to the small farmer down the road, there are a wide variety of organic farmers. And lots and lots of posers too but that’s a story for a different day.

On our farm, we listen to alot of music. It’s mostly disco during CSA packout and, depending on who chooses, lots of pop and country and alternative bands too. One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists includes a line that pretty much sums up organic farming for this farm. It’s a song called, “Three Wooden Crosses” and the line goes like this,

“I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It’s what you leave behind you when you go.”

It’s a philosophy that means alot to me and it helps me make all sorts of decisions every single day. When I think of some of the great things other cultures have left behind – from algebra to architecture to poetry and crafts – I think of what our society is leaving behind. What will people a hundred years from now think of us? What will people a thousand years discover as they dig into our soils?

What we leave behind each year at Montalbano Farms are rejuvenated soils. We leave behind fields and habitat that supports all kinds of insects and mammals and birds (and a few snakes too but PLEASE DO NOT TELL Camelia!). We leave employees who have a greater appreciation for hard work and delicious food. We leave behind native and heirloom trees. We leave behind donations to local food pantries that help hungry folks eat the very best food that money cannot buy. We leave behind hope and inspiration and some awfully dirty T-shirts too.

We leave behind, I hope at least, the chance that future generations will look at our farm and say three things. First, that we left behind the opportunity for others to keep growing healthy food on healthy soil. Second, that we left behind the ability to continue nourishing families in our community. And, finally, that we left behind natural resources that are strong and vibrant and resilient.

I hope so because every single day the whole crew at Montalbano Farms works very hard to make it all happen. The whole crew hopes that you enjoy your vegetables this week.