Ecological Farming

Our working definition is "Implementing observed natural processes in agricultural production." Natural processes are amazingly complex. They involve multiple related factors, holistic relationships (especially between different species), balances, and efficiencies of inputs to produce quality outputs. And, although we cannot expect to replicate what happens in nature completely, by focusing on what we know and understand, we should be able to expect to realize better results than if we ignore altogether what happens naturally. Consider a tree. Existing in an environment of water and soil and air, it relies on nutrients and other forms of life (bacteria, fungi, other organisms) found in the soil, water and air in order to grow. By observing the relationships of a healthy tree with it environment, we can understand some of what a tree needs to thrive. An example of a natural process/relationship which is not widely known is that different types of nitrogen affect plants differently. Some forms of nitrogen affect the growth of plants. Other forms affect the fruiting of plants. If we know which types of nitrogen are present, we can supplement a plant with a specific type of nitrogen to cause the plant to produce it's naturally occurring fruit. Or we can supplement with a different type of nitrogen to help the plant grow - so that it will be better able to produce fruit at a more appropriate time. The contrasting example is that - in the fall of the year - we don't want to use a nutrient which is more available (present naturally) in the spring and consequently through a crop's natural growing process "out of whack". Applying what we know with a critical appreciation for natural processes, we can grow quality food (think nutrient-dense, longer storage "life") in larger quantities, all while improvng - and not just maintaining - the soil, air and water with which we started, This is Ecological Farming.