Several weeks ago, our family visited the Rodale Institute Research Farm for their Field Day. Rodale Institute publishes Organic Gardening magazine and many organic gardening and farming books. That Field Day began a learning process for that has continued for the last two weeks. We are excited about what we have been learning about how to build up the health of the soil and how that specifically relates to human health.
The Rodale Institute Research Farm for the last 27 years has been conducting research comparing conventionally raised corn and soybeans with organically raised corn and soybeans in two different plots. The organic plot produced similar or greater yields than the conventionally raised plot in a good rain fall year. In a drought year the organic plot produced 30 – 80% higher yields than the conventional plot. The higher yields were due to the higher carbon in the soil and the greater water holding capacity in the organic plot. They have found that the organic plot puts about 1000 lbs. of carbon into the soil per acre per year. Each pound of carbon in the soil has the potential of increasing the water holding capacity by 40 lbs. of water! If the US would convert all of its conventional chemical farmland to regenerative organic production, it would remove a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the air and place it in the soil where it would hold moisture and build the health of the soil, the health of the plants grown in the soil, and the health of every living being. When the Creator designed the earth, it was designed so that the environment could heal itself, just like our body heals itself after a cut, broken bone, or sickness. Our planet is not doomed to self destruction as some would lead us to believe. However, we do need to change some things so that the health of the environment can improve. We hold in our hands the potential through regenerative, sustainable, organic farming to be able to increase overall food production, and to bring health to the soil, the air, the water, and every living creature.
What we learned that Friday at the Rodale Institute Field Day was very important. However, as we left that day, there was a comment that was made that I realized that what they had discovered was only one piece of the whole "pie". They did not have the whole answer yet. Organic is an important piece of the "pie", but to have true health and nutrient dense foods there is more to the equation. We need to be organic plus pasture raised plus (?). I called out to God and asked Him to show us the rest of the pieces of the "pie". It was amazing how fast the next step in our learning process came.
On Monday we received an announcement for another field day that Wednesday at an Amish farm in Lancaster, PA. Reuben Stoltzfus, the owner of the farm, also has a business called Lancaster Ag Products. Lancaster Ag has been achieving amazing results in helping farmers build up the soil and producing nutrient dense products. One farm they helped was able to grow organic peaches this year that were so healthy that the bugs left the peaches alone. By increasing the nutrient density of pasture, they have found that cows only need to eat half as much of the grass and will produce more milk. For the field day, Reuben Stoltzfus brought in a number of leading researchers and experts in soil and animal health. What we learned that day was an incredible learning experience and was another piece of the "pie".
In the Lancaster Ag catalog, Reuben acknowledges the source of his information. "We are blessed by our Father, who cares for us and loves us wherever we are. He is blessing us with so much knowledge about where we are with the soils and the environment. If we only just take a moment to stop and think about what we are doing and listen to Him, He will help us find the answers. If we don’t listen when the Father wants to give us the answers, he will get our attention somehow. From a health perspective we may face a health problem or maybe God will show us through a loved one or a friend. For me, 5 years ago, I was faced with some health conditions that needed immediate attention. That same year my father also faced some deadly health problems, which gave us all the determination to find answers to the reasons for these conditions. Through the research and studies, many doctors, friends and researchers were able to come up with some methods to look at to improve life in general."
I am not sure how many more pieces of "pie" there are. What I do know is that there is more to be learned. The universities have not discovered it all, nor do they in many cases have the real answers for farming or the environment. I feel like I am being catapulted along faster than my little brain can absorb everything. Farming is much more interesting and rewarding than when I was helping build mansions for people who didn’t need them. We will be sharing more of what we are learning in the coming months.