Willowsford Farm’s produce is Certified Organic by CCOF. We strive to farm holistically, meaning we work with natural processes that allow us to grow strong and healthy crops with few off-farm inputs.
Soil is the foundation of farming. It is needed to grow healthy plants and animals, which in turn become healthy food for us. Much of our land has been farmed continuously for several hundred years, producing agricultural products for the region but causing erosion, and a reduction in the mineral content of our soils and crops. Our work is to bring the soil to life.
We focus on adding organic matter and natural rock amendments to make sure soil organisms have food, shelter, and water. As in a natural ecosystem, we want to increase biodiversity in our agricultural system so it includes all the critters that make a healthy soil: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, invertebrates, and vertebrates.
These organisms cycle nutrients and build good soil structure for plants to thrive in. In turn, plants feed and protect these organisms, and together they cycle nutrients and create better conditions for growth. This process also sequesters carbon, using agriculture as the easiest, most effective and most attainable technology we have available to deal with excess carbon in our atmosphere. Benefits to farmers are good too: improved soil structure and nutrient cycling, improved water retention in times of drought and storms, and healthier crops in general.
We encourage this process by using cover crops, crop rotations, compost and natural rock amendments, grazing and minimum tillage strategies. These are the keys to maintaining good soil fertility and to growing crops that are full of nutrients and flavor. These practices also help us manage weeds, pests, and disease on the farm. Our goal is to create a resilient, self-nourishing cycle that replenishes its own nutrients and organic matter and provides for its own weed and pest control.