Why Organic Farming Matters To Me
I started my apprenticeship with Apple Acres in May of 2019 and I’m so grateful I took this opportunity to discover the world of farming and running a business. I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in environmental studies in April of 2019. Towards the end of my college career a lot of the courses I was taking were geared towards agriculture and the impacts it has had on ecosystems around the world. In one of my courses we took a number of field trips to local farms operated by Fort Lewis alumni, the majority being first generation farmers, to get their perspective on farming organically. It was on these field trips that my dream of managing my own farm and running a Farm to Table business sprouted.
Growing up I held this stigma that a farm is only successful when they are helped by government subsidies to grow cash crops or use conventional farming methods to produce massive yields of their product. I assumed small family farms were a thing of the past, replaced by corporate farms. I was wrong. In general, societal values towards the food we consume is rapidly changing because of the very present effects of climate change. Its widely known by the public that conventional methods of agriculture are a huge player in climate change and have many negative effects on the environment, for example: lack of carbon sequestration because of poor soil health, eutrophication because of herbicide and pesticide use, all the evils that come with the meat industry, the list goes on.
Consumers are becoming more conscious and cautious about what they buy and put into their bodies, looking for locally or organically sourced products because of the known health and environmental benefits they hold. Farmers markets are becoming more popular and organic farming is taking over the spotlight with local, organic, and family run operations becoming ever present on grocery store shelves.
My course work in college opened my eyes to the immense support there is for organic farmers through government and state programs and the strong community among small scale farmers and those that support their businesses by purchasing their products. At Apple Acres I have seen the relationship that has grown between producer and consumer because of the organic practices used on the farm and am always welcoming returning faces at the farm store. I’ve benefitted through a community shared agriculture program with other local farms that have provided our farm with fresh vegetables in exchange for apples. It’s truly a warming feeling witnessing the kinship that is held among the locals of Hiram, Maine and the surrounding townships. My work at apple acres has only strengthened my belief that the movement towards organic agriculture will continue to grow and that sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of farming are a step toward helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.