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GrowOrganicApples.com is a Holistic Orchard Network: Together we can Grow Organic Apples as part of the local foods movement.
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Articles on Holistic Orcharding

An Intelligent Paradigm

by Michael Phillips

Oft times we draw our lines in the sand on the basis of either an organic or conventional approach to orchard management. IPM at its best seems to straddle this imaginary line when apple growers judiciously use softer chemicals in conjunction with agrarian common sense. The philosophical divide only deepens, however, when we each stand behind a standard bearer that reads Certified Organic, Ecological, Low Spray, Integrated Fruit Production, and (begging your pardon) damn all you sissies who don't like my chemicals. Inevitably out come the swords of food safety and economic survival as we thrust and parry our way into separate ideological camps.

Two terms from medicine lend far more credence to describing how we as orchardists relate to our trees in the quest to produce healthy, locally-grown fruit. I would argue that each of us makes allopathic and holistic choices within the approach we've chosen to grow fruit. Every organic sulfur spray, for instance, works in an allopathic manner just as does every IPM organophosphate spray. Both are aimed at removing the perceived threat by toxic means. Holistic actions on the other hand undertake to embrace the orchard system as a whole rather than address recurring symptoms. The more toxic a procedure, of course, the further we remove ourselves from integrating soil and tree health into self-sustaining solutions.

There are times when devastating pest pressures, livelihood constraints, and plain ol' human ignorance make it necessary to think allopathically. None of us are above this. Yet each grower strives to make intelligent choices within the framework of his or her individual belief system. We can only learn from each other if we respect each other. Holistic orcharding is all about finding healthier answers that honor all species.

Michael Phillips, organic apple orchardist, sets out for a day's work at Lost Nation Orchard at Heartsong Farm (photo: Frank Siteman)
content Michael Phillips, organic apple orchardist, sets out for a day's work at Lost Nation Orchard
(photo: Frank Siteman)
The Holistic Orchard: Growing Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way -- click for book summary
The Holistic Orchard: Growing Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way by Michael Phillips
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Organic Orcharding Articles


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