Jeremiah 29:5 "Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce."
The owner of Peculiar Farms outside Los Lunas, New Mexico, does just that. From the beautiful farm houses to the acres of farmland, Peculiar Farm follows God's plan, and I had the chance to spend some time with them learning about their practices.
Peculiar Farm's Holistic Approach To Farming
I had a chance to do a Harvest Trail Farm Visit with Adam and Thomas of Peculiar Farms one morning this spring. They were kind enough
to pre-test a producer survey I am doing for a local food cooperative and let me tour their beautiful farm the same day.
We spent the better part of an hour in the farm house going over the survey and talking about Peculiar Farms. This farm house is beautiful and for sale!
Thomas offered me a wonderful breakfast of fresh picked rhubarb topped with fresh cream from their milk cows. Can we say heaven? If only every Harvest Trail Farm Visit was this scrumptious!
During our meeting, Thomas, one of the farms proprietors, mentioned they farm holistically. I had to stop and ask him, "what's the difference between farming holistically and organically?". Thomas then explained a holistic approach to farming is one that circles back around. The plants grow feed for the animals, the animals fertilize the soil and the chickens eat the bugs from the manure to protect the plants. Then the animals and plants feed the humans.
Psssst.....did I mention they raise chickens...
Cause they are EVERYWHERE!
Anyway, sounds like a no brainer way to farm right? Like this practice is one that most farmers would use.
Well... not so much...
Traditional Modern Farming
Most North American farms do what's called mono-culture farming. They farm one type of crop year after year in the same area. While this practice works, and at this point is a necessity to feed our population, it is not considered sustainable. This form of farming is often more profitable but it can reduce ecosystem diversity. Two negative impacts of mono-culture farming is depletion of soil of nutrients and the ability for plant disease to spread quickly. Crops commonly used in mono-culture farming include corn, wheat, and cotton. For more information on the pros and cons of mono-culture see this article from Wyoming Weed Science.
Holistic Approaches vs Organic Approaches
Thomas went on to tell me how Peculiar Farms works to diversify the farm. On the farm's 100 acres they run beef cattle, a few milk cows, hogs, chickens, eggs, and grow vegetables using organic practices (there are not certified organic).
The second part of my question to Thomas was asking him about the difference between holistic and organic farming. To me, organic meant more sustainable, just like holistic, but apparently I was not up to speed on the organic topic. Thomas went on to explain that you can have a mono-culture farm using organic practices but it might not be doing as much to help sustainability as diverse holistic practices. So in other words, mono-cultures using organic practices can still deplete nutrients and spread diseases quickly among other things.
Guess I would like to see a label that says "sustainable practices used" more so than just organic practices used (P.S. They are out there).
The Harvest Trail Farm Tour of Peculiar Farms
I was walking through the fields with the other Farm's proprietors, Adam, and he reminded me that God asks us to be joyous in whatever task we are doing, even if its digging a ditch. Peculiar Farms has its share of tedious work as seen by the numerous rows of freshly planted young seedlings (all done by hand), but Adam explains his work with joy and a smile on his face. We toured through the milk cows, a few of the beef cattle, chickens and hogs. Their farm is beautiful and I hope to tour it again later in the summer when the plants are a bit bigger.
If you would like more information on Peculiar Farms take a look at there website here.