Philosophical approval of one's farming practices is indeed a tough nut to crack. Fruit growers, let your thoughts be known. We have no intention of launching yet another certification process. On the other hand, giving orchardists a nudge to embrace radiant system health that results in the growing of nutrient-dense fruit is an honorable achievement.
Orchard challenges are many – the work overwhelming at times. What follows are positive guidelines to keep us on track in managing our orchards based on minimal off-farm inputs, biological impetus, robust photosynthesis, and outrageous diversity. And certainly let's include grower happiness here as well!
The term organic as now in the hands of the US Department of Agriculture has been convoluted. National certification standards for organic agriculture do indeed reflect good tenets but there are also dubious rules and outright hedging that miss the mark. One can meet the standards for organic fruit growing and yet be way out of touch with whole system thinking. The true goals of the grassroots organic movement have never changed: healthy food from healthy soil, local farms feeding local folks. Importing an organic apple from thousands of miles away is not environmental awareness in action – burning petroleum to get that piece of fruit to your door could be considered just as as 'earth allopathic' as reliance on toxic sprays, frankly.
And so we encourage all growers to trial holistic techniques. This is a nudging process. We're getting here from there, to paraphrase a classic New England adage.
Get involved with your community orchardist, fruit lovers. Offer sweat labor on orchard work days, do some word-of-mouth marketing, pay the fair price, share your appreciation. The story behind any grower's decisions are understood by other growers in this network and an open book to you as well . . . all you have to do is ask.
This network deliberately uses the term holistic to describe wholesome orchard practices. Yet we also recognize that there are well-intentioned growers who may not yet be in an economic position to forego a certain chemical application. These are growers who support soil life, dial back fungal problems with good hygiene practice, minimize the use of fungicides in favor of boosting tree immune function with deep nutrition, abet arboreal allies, and approach pest situations with life-cycle understanding and outrageous diversity too. Discerning chemical use may be a one-shot directed at overwhelming curculio pressure or extended fruit rots due to high humidity. We need everyone on board to provide nutrient-dense food in communities everywhere.
Your learning curve
Understanding Nature's ways requires we pay attention. A clear overview of holistic tenets helps growers see how an integrated tree tapestry comes to be. Healthy plant metabolism plays a big role in boosting photosynthesis . . . and that's really the key to growing beautiful fruit year after year.
The Big Picture
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