February 3rd, 2010 | melody | Comments Off on It’s All About the Soil!
On day two of my trip, it becomes clear to me that organic farming in New Zealand is all about the soil. Today I am introduced to a group of very dedicated organic growers (see photos below). Their dedication really focuses on the health of the soil, the trees, and the local environment. They are true stewards of the earth. The sign that you see at the front of one of the orchards really depicts their philosophy, which they describe as “beyond organics.” Of critical importance to these growers is the biological health of the soil – it is paramount to everything they do. As one of the producers, Tom Masterson phrased it, “first you focus on the soil quality, then the variety of trees, followed by the balance of the orchard, energy and water . . . you work from the soil up.” These growers work extremely hard to balance the soil dynamics, thus reducing fungicide use, nitrate leaching, and reducing their overall carbon footprint.
Nicole Masters, who is a soil agronomist and educator (Director of Integrity Soils) works passionately with these NZ growers so that they can have a better understanding of their soils, which allows them to grow nutritionally dense food. There is not an organic grower anywhere in the world (or a grower of any stripe for that matter) who would not be amazed, impressed, and enlightened by observing these farms and the growing techniques that are employed.