Faith, Patience, and Healthy Soil
In 2016, we started with a vision of making the farm more productive, and over the last four years we have reimagined and reconstituted almost every system and aspect of our farming practices. The driving force behind all these changes was the long-term plan of regenerating the soil, along with a switch to no-till farming. We believed that rebalancing the minerals in the soil and reducing tillage would pay off exponentially within a few years. But honestly, I didn’t foresee the results we’ve had.
In four years we have improved the quality and increased the amount of food grown and distributed by at least 25 percent annually from 62,000 in 2016 to 126,000 in 2020. At the same time our soil tests have continued to improve, each year coming back more and more in balance and fertile. Looking out over the fields today, you can clearly see the results with strong vibrant plants densely filling the beds and wildlife flourishing in the area.
I look back to 2016 and remember thinking, “I hope this is gonna work.” As with most things in life and farming, you can’t always predict your results; you just have to trust the process and the vision. It requires faith and takes patience. In hindsight, I don’t think I would change a thing. We have achieved tremendous growth, and even when initiatives haven’t turned out as planned, we have learned and developed from our mistakes.
But none of this would have been accomplished without the commitment of all the volunteers who come to work on the farm, the faith that the board has shown in us as farmers, and the perseverance of all the farmers who have tirelessly worked with me day in and day out to get Gaining Ground where it is today. Our goal for 2020 is to continue to focus on the regeneration of the soil and, as always, on the quality of our produce. And we’ll continue to make improvements in our farming methods. We have much to do, and we look forward to welcoming new and repeat volunteers back to the farm as soon as we are able.