Two years of Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)-supported field experimentation in commercial-scale, no-till organic vegetable production have been completed on three California working farms. Phil Foster Ranches, Full Belly Farm, and Park Farming Organics will report on continued innovations in reducing/eliminating tillage in field-scale organic vegetable crops. Features include cover-crop biomass digestion under plastic and weed barrier fabric, seasonal grazing trials, novel equipment, and investigation of fungal-to-bacterial ratios. We'll also share learning on the Carbon-to-Nitrogen ratio's influence on the long-term fate of carbon in farm soils.
Soil, Crops, Animals, Pests, Beneficials
E | 10:00am PT
Phil Foster Ranches
Full Belly Farm
Scott Park (along with his wife Ulla and son Brian) farms 1700 organic acres in the Sacramento Valley. The farm grows 10-20 different crops on 27 fields spread over 10 miles along the Sacramento River south of Meridian. The main crops are processing tomatoes, rice, corn, wheat, barley, dry beans, alfalfa, vine seed crops, squash, cauliflower, as well as various and sundry experimental crops (hemp, quinoa, stevia). Scott started his farming career in 1974 as a first generation farmer with a political theory degree (no ag background). The first 11 years were spent “cloning” what neighbors did, but observing the decline in soil quality along with increased chemical and fertilizer inputs led Park to begin shifting his focus in 1986 from conventional solutions to “natural” inputs. Without a template, the farm struggled for years, but serendipitous results kept the farm moving forward to where it is today- a relatively successful organic farm system that has similar size, crops, and yields to conventional California farms. The farm continues to evolve as the family “tweaks” the system to minimize inputs and let healthy soil and the surrounding environment do the problem solving for the farm.