COW-OP NEWS

Local food news & events

It’s all about soil!

Our co-operative is built on a foundation of community, sustainability, and the love of good – legitimately good – food. We value the soil that our local, fresh produce is grown in. We care about how each of our farmers interacts with the land. We are SO PROUD to have many organic, regenerative, and permaculture farms as members. Customers can read all about each farm’s respective practices on the ‘Meet our Producers’ section of our site, www.cow-op.ca.

@kpyouth KinPark Youth Urban Farm is one example of a no-till, permaculture-inspired market garden that sells fresh produce on the Cow-op. Here you can see their Winter mulch in action, and the rich, healthy, carbon-sequestering soil that results!

@coastalrainforestfarm Coastal Rainforest Farm – “from Soil to Soul!” – is another example of a small-scale, community oriented farm practicing both minimum till methods on some fields and no-till on others. The key is in getting to know your soil – the soil texture and structure – and making educated decisions to prepare the fields for planting, weed prevention and overwintering with the most harmonious practices possible. While cover cropping or “living mulches” are an integral piece of soil protection and regeneration, inorganic mulches such as plastic have a time and a place as well.

The use of plastic can be a slippery slope and the trend in large-scale organic agriculture to rely on purchasing plastic each year for their operations is something to caution against and an important topic of conversation. Coastal Rainforest Farm was able to divert a number of 50 x 100 foot blackout plastic tarps that were heading towards the waste stream from a local tree nursery who needed to recover their greenhouses. These tarps act as a great intermediary to kill back cover crops or weeds without tilling. When times run short these tarps can be used to cover and protect a field over-winter if the window of cover-cropping was missed and it gets too late in the season for cover cropping seeds to be planted.

@holy_stick_farms Holy Stick Farm also orients their practices towards a holistic approach. The weeds are fed to their animals, the chickens, ducks, pigs and sheep are rotationally grazed and are used to help with pest control and the manure is fed back into the soil. Since building healthy soil for productive market farms often requires more inputs than are on-farm, Holy Stick Farms gathers horse and livestock manure in the Spring and Fall, lets the microbes do their magic and uses the nutrient compost once it composts down and gets nice and dark.

Thank you to article content contributors Laura Boyd-Clowes, @coastalrainforestfarm & @holy_stick_farms

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