Our methods follow the principles of sustainably minded, ecologically based farming. We use cover crops to replenish nutrients and improve soil structure, while understanding that this is a long-term process requiring many years and frequent fallow seasons. So, we also use an organic-approved granular fertilizer that is concocted based on soil test results and provides nutrients slowly through soil biology. Likewise, we use a food-grade foliar fertilizer to add small amounts of macro- and micro-nutrients. Pests are excluded by fabric rowcovers or picked off by hand. We would consider using organic-approved pesticides as a last resort to save a crop, which is why we do spray organic-approved Bt to control cabbage loopers. We use no herbicides, relying on careful mechanical cultivation or hay mulch. We don't anticipate needing any fungicides, although it a particularly bad year we may use potassium bicarbonate (FDA food-safe, organic-approved) to control powdery mildew on zucchini.

Why We Are Not Certified Organic

Organic certification is a marketing decision, not an ecological one, and at this point we are not interested in pursuing certification. People who buy our vegetables know the farm – most know me personally – and trust what we are doing here without needing third-party verification. We are happy to answer any questions you have. 

Moreover, organic certification merely verifies that products were produced solely with inputs and methods on the “Approved” list, and does not certify a farm's principles or actual ecological impact. For example, organic farmers can and do use many pesticides, fungicides, and other sprays; we use very little. Instead of throwing away miles of black plastic mulch we switched to using a plant-based biodegradable film that is approved for organic in Europe, but barred by US organic rules.

Marketing Practices

The economic impact of food production is as important as the ecological. We stopped growing seed sold by Monsanto or its subsidiaries (those corporations control a surprising number of common vegetable varieties). We focus on providing food to people we know: the CSAs of other farmers, small business owners, and YOU – individual eaters.

Wholesale farming often means entering the industrial sphere of buyers, sellers, and interchangeable parts, which leads to our modern preponderance of uniform, anonymous, tasteless vegetables bred for looks and yield.  We do not want to rely on a system where it is in our business interest to increase profit by growing lower-quality food for people who don't care about it.  Instead, we seek out sales to people who have a personal interest in the food they're buying.

We encourage you to buy YOUR food from the sorts of places you would like to exist around here, and we believe Second Spring Farm is that sort of place.