Andrew Brait

Full Belly Farm

Capay Valley, Northern California

One of the biggest, most respected organic farms in America.

 

Six words: "feed the soil, not the plant". My name is Andrew Brait, co-owner of Full Belly Farm, a highly diversified and integrated, 400 acre CCOF certified organic truck farm in the Capay Valley, California. Our mandate in organic agriculture has always been to leave the SOIL better than the way we found it. This guiding directive fashions our farm practices to foster plant health and productivity through regenerative fertility in a biologically dynamic soil. We recognize and commit our role to keeping the "fire stoked", to not only sustaining, but enriching an extensive and complex community of soil dwelling species. We recognize the intregal relationship between of soil health with plant health. Soil is the de facto foundation of certified organic farming. A soil-less system by definition has none of these concerns, and so by definition is incongruent with the basis of organic agriculture. I am and surprised and perplexed to learn that the NOP rejected the 2010 NOSB recommendation to prohibit soil-less culture in certified organic production. While hydroponics may use approved nutrient sources for organic production, it lacks the quintessential medium of a healthy, living soil through which these nutrients are metabolized and delivered to the plant. So called "mainlining" nutrient uptake has never figured in as the cornerstone of fertility in certified organic farming. In many respects this is part of the key distinction between organic and conventional practices. I call on the NOP to reconsider their decision and uphold the definitive and paramount role of soil as the basis of certified organic agriculture.