Medway Community Farm, Inc. believes in the organic, local food movement. By using sustainable, low-impact methods that were the inspiration for this project we are contributing to our local food supply and improving the global food system. We have chosen not to apply for organic certification this season, but will still use soil enhancing and resource conserving methods to grow our produce and flowers. We will never use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on our farm.
We encourage you to ask questions and invite you to come to the farm and observe how we operate – we believe everyone should know more about how their food is grown.
Below is a description of ways in which we will practice sustainable agriculture at 50 Winthrop St. If you have any further questions, please contact our Farm Manager, Katie Bekel.
We are constantly working to improve the quality of our soil through the addition of composted food waste, manures, leaf mulches and organically certified amendments to increase the levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and micronutrients in our soil. Soil is like a living organism, and when healthy will produce the most delicious, nutritious, and productive fruits and vegetables.
Each year we plant a variety of soil building cover crops such as oats, field peas, rye, clover, buckwheat, and hairy vetch to add nutrients to our soil and prevent erosion during the winter. These cover crops will be turned into the soil in the spring providing valuable and accessible nutrients to the next season's crops. We will continue to use cover crops whenever possible to improve the quality of our soil.
Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and Fertilizers
Although we are not currently pursuing organic certification, we are familiar with the organic standards and will minimize our environmental impact by using no chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers. We believe the costs of synthetic chemical use in agriculture outweigh the benefits (mainly higher yields) and will attempt to use preventative measures such as crop rotation, floating row covers, and inter-cropping to keep pests away.
If there is a pest infestation we will consider the use of organically certified pesticides, derived from natural sources that target only specific pests. If there is an infestation or disease that cannot be remedied using organic methods, we will remove the plant material from the field and accept the loss of that crop for that season.
We will never use herbicides of any kind. We will use manual methods (hoeing and hand weeding) and mechanical cultivation with our small cultivating tractor, to control weed pressure in the field.
We will use certified organic seeds when they are available, and if a viable source of organic seed is not available for a certain crop, we will purchase the conventional variety from New England seed companies that supply organic seed.
We will NEVER knowingly purchase or grow genetically modified (GMO) seeds.
Heirloom seeds are open pollinated and have been preserved and passed down for years. They are usually prized for unique colors and fabulous flavors. We will attempt to grow some heirloom plants and provide heirloom seedlings at our seedling sale in May.
The farm primarily uses two small diesel tractors to do most of the field preparation and cultivating. We make every effort to use the tractors as efficiently as possible.
We heat our one propagation house and the farmhouse with propane and supplement this with heat from our wood stove, which burns locally harvested wood.
The farm pumps water at all three of its sites from Chicken Brook. We strive to use the least amount of water, most efficiently. We use both drip irrigation and overhead irrigation based on the needs of the crops and the time demands each system requires for set up. We use drip irrigation on our longer season crops and typically use overhead watering for crops that mature in only a few weeks. We work to conserve water by irrigating our crops at night when less water is lost to evaporation.
Ask Your Farmer
MCF encourages all community members to ask questions about how their food is grown. Please feel free to contact our Farm Manager, Katie, at any time, with questions about our farm and the way we grow food. You can reach her at: email@example.com.