Our Farming Practices
From farm to fork: Do you know what you're eating?
In relation to food, provenance refers not only to where it is grown but also who grew it, how it was grown and how it got to you. This supply chain and its transparency directly influences the safety, nutrient density, diversity, taste, respect of natural resources and overall quality of our food supply, as well as impacting the ongoing viability for farmers growing the food. Provenance embodies topics such as organics, Biodynamics and biological growing, genetically modified food, food miles, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and fair trade, ethical, humane animal raring AND inferior or non-transparent agricultural systems and/or unnecessarily imported foods, such as Chinese garlic.
We are passionate about fair food and real connection to the people growing it! At the heart of who we are and what we stand for at Angelica Organic Farm is the commitment to be the change we wish to see in food production and supply- from farm to fork - food sovereignty and security, food production and consumption ethics, fair food pricing INCLUDING fair payment to farmers, short and viable supply chains, environmental conservation and regenerative farming practices.
We are more than happy for you to know how we have grown your food and want you to know about the care, reality of effort and challenges that has gone into that process.
Our farming practices strive to respect, nourish and regenerate the soil using thoughtful, low impact old and new organic food farming methods (CERT. # 10966 AO). We employ a regenerative approach, combining minimal tillage, steady humus building via organic matter and balanced microbe generation, complimentary crop rotations, crop and species diversity, green manuring/cover cropping, microbial inoculants, some compost and occasional re-mineralisation. As a certified organic farm (Cert. # 10966 AO), we do not use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Biological farming recognises that a healthy cycle of life for all plants and beings starts with the right balance of soil microbes (the soil food web). It can include organic, Biodynamic and other biological methods and is based on proven science, common sense and we are heavily guided by observation of the life-cycle and vitality of our soil, paddocks and produce . Done authentically, it is about a lot more than the mere absence of toxic chemical or synthetic inputs usage or crude NPK ratios!
Although we aim for minimal tillage in order to conserve and regenerate the soil structure and biome, as a small intensive mixed crop, season-driven market garden, we have found over the years we need to cultivate the soil to efficiently manage and raise successive crops each year. We use a gentle, purpose-built tractor implement for this and to raise new planting beds as required. We've experimented with lots of things over the years, including mulching and weed matting approaches, but how we do it now, we find to be the most balanced, practical approach and farming does in practicality involve wisely chosen compromises at times. One of our goals in hoping to purchase our own, larger property a.s.a.p. , is to be able to manage the land even better and more gently than we do now, including resting half of it every couple of years and so forth. We never stop innovating or learning!
Our weed control approach includes pre-weeding (eradicating the flush of little weeds between bed formation and seed sowing or seedling planting), long-handled stirrup hoeing, flame weeding and hand weeding mainly.
Australian Organic (AO) the certification arm of Australian Certified Organic (ACO) is our certifier. We chose organic certification because we are so serious about transparency in the food system and upholding the integrity of organic food growing. It's about ensuring people’s right to choose what they eat, being able to confidently rely on their food being unadulterated, even by what their animal produce has eaten during its lifetime. Certification provides customers with assurance that they are purchasing truly organic products, that are accountable for how the food was handled from growing, to harvest to when it reaches the eater. Some critics (often not org cert operators) see organic certification as largely the servant of large and corporate farming but in our experience it is a reliable tool towards food production transparency. We find the annual process matches our farmer's unique practice and individual needs very well. If a 'corrective action' is recommended, we are clearly advised and given a fair opportunity to meet that standard. At minimum, the organic farming certification Standards are rigorously tested through annual audits of every certified operator by an independent third party auditor. The initial organic certification process takes place over approximately three years, as long as there are no pre-existing chemical contamination issues to be resolved or problems that arise during (or after) certification that contravene the standards. Detailed records of all farm systems, inputs and outputs have to be submitted to the auditor each year.
There are more and more people who have no choice but to eat reliably chemical-free food due to multiple chemical sensitivities and other modern day illnesses, who need to know absolutely that their food is unadulterated and many others who wish to avoid ending up with compromised health for themselves and their families from exacerbating chemical body burdens.
Our overall aim is to preserve the integrity of the land and leave it better than we found it, while growing clean, nutrient dense, flavour-rich fresh food to feed people and feed them well.
"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival." Wendell Berry