Do you use chemicals on your produce?
We love this question because it opens up a huge topic of conversation, but we’ll try to keep this answer more to the point. We can’t use about 99% of the traditional pesticide options available because these chemicals are unsafe for the precious bacteria and possibly the fish, that are hard at work in our farms. It’s pretty simple, if it’s not safe for the fragile bacteria in our farms, then why should we consider it safe for us who have fragile bacteria in and on us that we depend on to stay alive.
Our farms are open air, which though does allow pests to enter, it also allows their natural predators to enter as well. An example is once we see aphids appear, we soon see Lady Bugs show up who love eating aphids and so on. When needed, we can even import beneficial insects like Lady Bugs, Lace Wings, or Parasitic Wasps to help us safely control damaging pests. However, as much as we like this, it is frequently not quite enough to help us protect your amazing veggies.
Our mission is to grow foods that help your body heal and fortify itself. Like in the Hippocratic Oath, our first objective is to do no harm. In addition to protecting our bacteria and fish, we must make sure that anything we use is safe and ideally, even beneficial to your physical health.
There is a small collection of options that are both effective in helping us with pest management and are safe and/or even beneficial for us humans. Below is a list of treatments that we use that are both safe for our bacteria and fish and more importantly, safe for us who eat the delicious produce.
DE Powder (Diatomaceous Earth)
Yep, this is similar to the stuff that you may use in your pool filter. Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring, soft rock crumbled into a white powder. Diatomaceous Earth consists of fossilized remains of microalgae. We use a food grade version which is reported to provide health benefits like aiding in digestion, detoxification and immune function according to an article from Dr. Axe. We use DE Powder to help our plants as it irritates pests with exoskeletons like veggie eating stink bugs, roaches and beetles.
Neem Oil is an oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the Neem evergreen tree. It is has been used for hundreds of years in medicine as a natural approach to numerous health issues. It’s commonly found in soaps, hair products and hand creams as well as being a very popular deterrent to unwanted pests in organic gardening.
Bacillus Thuringiensis is a naturally occurring bacterium commonly found in our soil. Bacillus Thuringiensis also occurs naturally in the gut of caterpillars, moths and butterflies. It’s most common use is as a safe organic pest control option in place of harmful pesticides. The EPA has found Bacillus Thuringiensis to be non-toxic to humans with zero proven incidents of human ill effect according to a post siting the EPA from University of California San Diego.
Azadirachtin is a great option for safe, organic farm management. It is ORMI Listed for certified organic use. It’s primary ingredient is from Neem Oil and helps in keeping out a large variety of veggie eating pest and represents no risk to us humans eating the veggies.
We continue to research other safe, natural, organic methods of pest control, however we have found that our best defense is a strong offense. The healthier our plants are, the less pest and disease issues we have to deal with. However, even with the healthiest of plants, we are forever grateful that nature has provided us all we need to grow fantastic produce while supporting the health of our friends and the environment.