Our August “Dirt Rich: Building Soil Health Experts” events drew good crowds to a pair of Redwood Falls and Marshall, Minn., farms to hear experts like Dr. Allen Williams and farmers Grant Breitkreutz and Allen Deutz describe the soil health building activities they are implementing.
One attendee, Kasandra Brown of Bloomington, was so impacted by the discussion, she wrote a passionate, heartfelt column in the days after the events that she was kind enough to share with SFA. Here is an excerpt from her column:
Prior to today’s conversation, I’ve only ever attended conferences and classes in or very near the city. All of those events were predominantly attended by small-scale organic farmers, young people just getting into farming, or other diverse local producers. I’ve never been at the table, or around the corn, with large-scale producers of major cash crops who aren’t afraid to talk about their herbicide schedules.
It may be obvious, but I started out pretty intimated. Maybe I had signed up for the wrong class? By the time I set foot beneath the golden tassels, though, I was right at home. You see, these farmers are the real deal. They’ve shook off the predatory companies and commission-based scientists and reclaimed a vital skill of our ancestors: the power of observation.
They’ve started (some recently, some for decades already) paying attention to the soil, the animals, and themselves. They’re working with cover crops to eliminate bare soil, boost microbe populations, fix nitrogen, and grow natural forage for their cattle. They are interseeding to put more roots in the ground in order to enhance soil biology. They’re not tilling (or at least tilling much less than they used to) in order to protect the underground mat of fungal hyphae, which provides an amazing partner for their crops by hunting for nutrients and supplying the plants with a rich diet.
To read Kasandra’s entire column, click here.