If asked, I think most people would say that the price of organic vegetables sometimes puts them off of buying them compared to non-organic produce. They are a little more expensive generally speaking. When I first started at Farrington’s I knew that eating organically was much better for my health and more environmentally friendly but I had no idea the process of growing organically. I just hadn’t ever thought to think about how the process was different from normal farming methods.
One sunny morning, Andy took me to the organic fields here on Farrington’s Farm. Acres of lush looking vegetables, most covered by netting but some sprouts, just coming through. He introduced me to his farm team and started talking through the process of how to grow organically. The planting process was as I expected, it’s carried out with big farm machinery, nothing out of the ordinary. It was the next stage that shocked me. As the crops start to grow, they enter a battle with very persistent weeds, that if left, will eventually strangle the crops. The bane of all farmers lives according to Andy. Non-organic farmers will just spray these weeds with nasty chemicals that will kill the weeds but at the same time, these chemicals will also be sprayed all over the crop. Many people don’t realise almost 300 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these are often present in non-organic food eat despite washing and cooking.
I asked Andy, ‘If organic farmers don’t use chemicals to kill back the weeds, how do you get rid of them so the crop can survive?’
His response was ‘We handpick them out’.
I looked up at the acres and acres of crops and it was at that point the penny dropped. Imagine handpicking weeds out of acres and acres of crops. It’s bad enough trying to stop the weeds coming up in my tiny back garden! This process is repetitive and needs doing for every organic crop grown. It’s absolutely worth it though for so many reasons:
1) The soil condition is stainable for future generations,
2) The vegetables are not covered in chemicals so healthier for us,
3) It is so much better for our environment,
4) It’s better for our ecosystems, many pesticides don’t just kill the target pest but it also kills other wildlife that our ecosystems rely on too,
5) It keeps our water clean as there is no chemical runoff into our water systems.
This is just a handful of reasons why here at Farrington’s, we choose to farm organically, but we also feel a sense of responsibility to preserve the soil for future generations and provide good, honest food for our families and customers. Yes, it's easier to farm non-organically but for us, organic farming is the right thing to do.