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Here is a short list of my personal guidelines, why they are important to me: 1. Grow the soil first- If you did not know, yes you can grow soil. I define soil as not only dirt, but also the vast network of food chains that exist in a soil profile. If you set out to increase organic matter content, microorganism diversity/count, and stable mineral release/input, then you will have a healthy food system! Ex. My goal is to improve organic matter in the soil from les than 1% up to 3.0% in the next 5 seasons through rotational grazing, organic additions, and crop rotation. 2. Minimize fossil fuel dependency- This is a huge deal for all of us in terms of availability, price, and the destruction of our shrinking farmable land and most importantly water. Our children will need usable land and drinkable water to improve their future. Ex. Growing species of plants during the fall/winter that do not require additional heat/light sources to grow. I also save my own seeds always use non GMO seeds. 3. Minimize life cycle carbon footprint of my products- This is important in removing dependency on factory produced like fertilizers, seeds, feed, etc. Ex. I source all of my fertilizers from organic sources that are within 25 miles of my farm (horse manure, compost, chicken/goat bedding manure, blood/blood meal). 4. Integrated Pest Management- I believe that there is no silver bullet when dealing with crop pests and the best way to handle them is by managing the entire system to exclude them. Ex. Scout, Scout, Scout. Know your land and watch them. Early detection makes all the difference. Plant the crop during a time outside of the pests cycle. Exclude them with physical covers until their season is over (row, burlap). Create a habitat that is conducive to your pests natural enemies. Rotate the location of your plants and its relatives so that pests/weeds can be minimized. 5. Use chemicals (including organic herbicides) only when absolutely necessary- I believe we are far to quick to use herbicides/pesticides. These tools should be thought of like 1 tool in a large tool belt. When applying any pest treatment, you must understand that you are shifting to pest population to be resistant. Ex. I have only used 1 chemical intervention on my crops in the past 3 growing seasons and it was a total of 1 ounce. 6. Eat in season as often as possible. Your body will thank you!

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