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Farming Forward


Grant Schultz

As Americans, we like to think that we're trend-setters.  That's true in some ways, definitely not in others. Fashion? Paris, Milan...then NYC.  Tech? OK, we lead with Silicon Valley, Seattle...then Berlin, Bern, and SE Asia.

Agriculture.  Hmm this is a tough one.  Depending upon what angle you approach food-growing, different regions of the world can be considered trend-setters.

Switzerland leads in seasonally pastured dairy.  Australia leads in permaculture.  Cuba leads in local vegetable production.

We like to think of ourselves as the fly in the Iowa ointment.  Innovating sustainable, local food production in a sea of Big Ag.  But we're not afraid of participating in and leveraging a Global Economy either.

The tools to grow local food can come from anywhere.  We like to build from scratch, purchase used, or in rare cases import quality products from overseas.

Our vegetable planter is a Jang, manufactured in Korea.  It's high quality, and will last a lifetime.  The transport energy to get it stateside is easily justified when considering its life-cycle analysis.  Quality is worth it.

But our *favorite* tillage tool is a Maschio power harrow.   It's a uniquely European implement, with 10 sets of rotating harrow blades on a vertical axis.  Most horizontal tillers (rotovators) till 6-8" deep and leave a plow pan layer below.  Our power harrow tills up to 12" deep and preserves soil structure and drainage while still preparing a suitable seedbed.

We farm using transitional permaculture methods, and the power harrow is one of the tools to get there without getting a 12-oxen hitch.

Try one.  Better yet, visit our farms.