IN MORE DETAIL
We (Simon and Jordyn) met in our student days at Lincoln University and both graduated with a B.Ag.Sci (Hons). Throughout our journey of learning the ways of conventional agriculture we came to realise at our very core that there was something very wrong with how our food is produced. Too many eco-toxic pesticides, antibiotics, chemical fertilisers and heavy metals. Too much farming for the big corporates of the food industry who are for themselves (not for the people or the planet). Conventional agriculture is wreaking havoc on our topsoil, environment and its many eco-systems. Our food system desperately needs to change for the sake of our planet and future generations.
We believe that God created us to be stewards of his creation; to look after and be responsible for the land, environment and the life that it supports. Production should therefore not risk jeopardising the health and well-being of these.
In fact we believe that agriculture should sustain or even better enhance the health of the soil, plant, animal, human and planet as a whole. We are all connected; you cannot separate human health from ecological health.
We believe that agriculture for its own benefit should try to work with (not against) the rhythms of nature, ecological systems and cycles that are on offer, emulate them and sustain them.
Finally we believe that everyone has the right to know how their food is produced and where it comes from. And everyone should have access to fresh nutritious quality food that is affordable!
By 2050 the world population is predicted to reach 9 billion. The question that we were asked over and over again during our studies at Lincoln was “How are we going to feed the world?” The answer that was drummed into us was “Increase production, increase production, INCREASE PRODUCTION with better plant breeding, fertilisers, machinery, genetic engineering etc.” But we believe that we were being asked only half of the question. Instead we should have been asked “How are we going to feed the world with quality food in a sustainable manner?” Agriculture worldwide is already producing more than enough food, in fact a third of all consumable food is wasted somewhere along the food chain (FAO) while people elsewhere are starving! The simple answer to the full question is to adopt agro-ecological farming (includes organics), increase the number of smallholder farms and have towns and cities being supported with as much local produce as humanly possible! This will increase environmental sustainability, food quality, yields and reduce waste! Science is screaming out this answer left right and centre, so let’s get on with it ae?!
After realising that it was our calling to grow organic vegetables we moved to Simon’s family dairy farm in Rotorua in June of 2017. There we set up our organic market garden and small orchard on a 1.6 ha block using 100% organic principles, and as of this spring (2019) our farm is now fully certified organic with Organic Farm NZ!
Simon works the garden full time with the help of WWOOFers (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) while Jordyn does part time whilst raising two little girls and keeping the tummies of our hard workers satisfied. There will also be a new addition to the family in December!
Our plan this season is to increase the numbers of CSA Vege Box shareholders and to sell our veges at the Rotorua Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings. We will also continue to supply our local organic food hub Brown Owl which we are very blessed to have here in Rotorua as well as Terrace Kitchen; Rotorua’s finest restaurant! Finally we will continue to sell some produce and seedlings at our roadside stall two days a week! We hope to see you!
Jordyn & Simon
WHY ORGANIC VEGETABLES?
Eco-friendly and soil-friendly fertilisers
Organic vegetables are grown with biological fertilisers like composts, vermicast, seaweed teas etc. which when applied provide nutrition for the gazillions of organisms that live in the soil. From earthworms to fungi, protozoa and bacteria just to name a few, these soil organisms form important relationships with our vegetable plants which help them to absorb nutrients and water as well as protect them from harmful disease causing microbes. In addition, the poop of these soil organisms is the ultimate food for our vegetable plants! Feed the microbes and they will feed your plants!
Biological pest control
Organic vegetables are not grown with any chemical pesticides or fungicides. Our primary aim is to promote a healthy soil food web with the right nutrition and as a result healthy plants that have little susceptibility to pest or disease in the first instance. However in an organic system there will always be some pest and disease pressure which is actually a good thing! It is all about balance! In the presence of pests and pathogens plants produce phytonutrients (including antioxidants and anti-inflammatories) in order to protect themselves, which so happen to be fantastic for you! So don’t be concerned if one of our garden friends has had a wee nibble because your veges will have super-powers!
A big focus in our garden has also been to provide environments for beneficial insects. On our farm we grow ‘biodiversity strips’ between our vegetable plots which consist of perennial and annual flowering plants. These plants harbour many predatory and parasitic insects which keep pest numbers right down. They also act to stop disease spreading from one plot to the next. If pest or disease pressures do become a problem we use biological control methods. For example if we had an aphid problem in our cucumber crop we would buy and release ladybirds as ladybirds love eating aphids! If we had powdery mildew appearing on our watermelon plants we would apply a special probiotic tea.
Our organic vegetables are nutrient dense. We get the soil tested annually for the nutrients essential to plant and human health and amend the soil accordingly. This ensures that the vegetables grown are bursting with the goodness of essential macro and micro nutrients!
Grow Together Farm is audited every year so that you can know that what we call organic actually IS! We are fully certified organic with Organic Farm NZ.
CHANGE THE WORLD WITH YOUR WALLET
When you choose our organic veges you are investing in your health and the health of your family, protecting our environment and precious ecosystems and promoting local food resilience. While our prices for some vegetables may be slightly greater than conventional prices, do remember that the small bit extra is factoring in health and environmental protection.
What we buy today determines what will be produced tomorrow...