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Doce Lume Farm's Management and Core Principles

We started working land for producing produce and herbs in Maryland in 2016. At that farm, we applied for, and received, the USDA organic certification. It is a lengthy and very involved process with a litany of forms, tracking and site inspections, but in the end it became clear to us that organic certification is essentially about checking boxes for what NOT to do - Don't use synthetic chemical pesticides or tools that have been exposed to pesticides. Don't farm downwind of pesticide application. Don't use amendments on your field other than OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) approved - as opposed to a biologically based approach that is truly built on the natural ecosystem of a farm field. Organic certification is really great at eliminating certain chemical inputs, but it's still input-driven, as opposed to ecologically-based farming. All this is good and an improvement over conventional practices (most of the time), but it is not good enough. For us, organic certification was a ton of work to get approval for NOT doing things we would never do in the first place.

At Doce Lume Farm, started in NY in 2019, we practice biological farming, meaning no synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other compounds. Under this system we focus on the soil and work to improve the biology and ecology of the total plant environment. We've studied through Elaine Ingram's Soil Food Web courses (and are learning to use a microscope to look at the fungi and bacteria and try to assess the ratio), and we are on a lifelong journey to increase our knowledge of soil health, soil and soil ecology. We don't till, we broad fork. Organic farming allows tilling which can cause erosion, and tilling is like driving a bulldozer through the homes of all the micro and macro biota in the soils we want them to live in! (The living creatures in the soil are what convert minerals and nutrients in the soil to useful plant food - ie the mantra "healthy soil, healthy plant, healthy food, healthy people"). We use compost to nourish the beds in which we grow our crops; compost made from local farm animal manure, plus leaves, farm food field residue and food scraps. We're also trained and guided by the BioNutrient Food Association producers and soil scientists, and their great work to link soil and farm management practices with nutrient density in food. We never apply pesticides of any type.

Ecologically based farming is a lot of work, but we love it and are dedicated to learning and perfecting these techniques with the goal of providing you with nutritious, local food. Let us know if you want to learn more about our sister business, Go Native! perennials, where we are working to renaturalize the Skaneateles Lake Watershed with beautiful, but still hard to find, native plants that will also help to rebuild natural ecosystems on which we all depend.

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