Sunday, July 19, 2009

Talkin Dirty!

Recently I decided to finish reading The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan, a book I began about two years ago (I'm not a big reader OK!), Anyhow, I was going through the Chapter where the author spends a week working at Joel Salatin's "Polyface Farm" where he learns that to truly raise animals on a farm you need to become a "grass farmer", beginning at the basic level of the food chain and working your way up.
This is a farmer that really seems to have a grasp on the complexity of God's design for nature and how to use it for modern livestock farming.
I especially enjoyed the explanations about how each component of his farm interacts with the others (especially intriguing to my inner nerd). This all got me thinking about what it is that we are doing with one20, we're not just growing natural vegetables, we're not just raising worms for composting and castings, no, we are in the beginning stages of "dirt farming" (you can laugh but one day I WILL have a T-shirt that says "Dirt Farmer"). Much like Joel Salatin is taking advantage of the relationship of grass to cow to chicken to egg to pig to compost and back to grass again, so we too are taking advantage of the natural cycles of God's design.
We start with good dirt to grow good veggies which we eat and the scraps and plant waste are either fed to our worms so they can eat it then produce beautiful castings (never thought I'd get romantic about poop) which we can either sell or feed to our plants, or we place it in the compost bin to feed all the other bacteria and microorganisms that eventually will leave us with wonderful dark earthy-sweet smelling compost to feed our veggies. The beauty comes with the complexity, the way the nutrient rich dirt produces flavorful and nutrient rich vegetables, the way the different kinds of insects pollinate different plants, bumble bees love tomatillos, sweat bees like coriander, flies and moths love yucca, the list goes on.
One of the creepiest and yet coolest sights is the massive quantity of spiders of various shapes and sizes grass spiders, wolf spiders, those little black & white jumpy ones, it doesn't really matter to me, I always welcome the little creeps in the garden.
In conclusion, Dirt is where it all starts, and eventually, where it all ends up. The place that so many plants and animals raise their kids, and I'm happy to say, it's where we're raising ours.

1 comment:

Momma Bear said...

I think I'm stalking you folks. But your guys passion is so sweet and I'm pumped (and envious) that you guys are farmers! I saw Food, Inc last thursday and came away with many things but one thing is a decision to read the book An Omnivores Dilemma-can't wait.