We have now donated more than 9,000 pounds of fresh produce to the food pantries every week. Last year we gave our vegetables to the East Hampton Food Pantry, and this year we have been able to grow enough to supply the Springs and Sag Harbor pantries.
We plan to do the same thing next year, and more so. We are increasing the amount of land we have under cultivation at EECO Farm so we will be able to increase our donations of produce. We’ll also be able to take advantage of the lessons we’ve learned this year!
The support we get from our donors, and the gratitude of the folks at the food pantries, is wonderful.
We have been able to buy a new compost spreader that will help us to improve the soil we have to work with. The organic grower’s mantra is “Feed the soil to feed the plants,” and that’s this new implement will do. Powered by Peter’s 1940 Ford tractor, these two relatively light machines will put down tons of compost without compacting the soil.
Compost is not a major plant nutrient. What it does is feed all the billions of little critters in the soil that do all the work of making plant nutrients. They live, die, and eat each other while they do this. The result: soil that is teeming with microbes* and full of life. This grows healthy plants that don’t need chemical fertilizers and all that crap.
*There’s a great book, Teaming With Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide To The Soil Food Web, by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis (Timber Press, 2006). My other favorites are Life in The Soil, by James Nardi (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and The Soul of Soil, by Joe Smillie and Grace Gershuny. If you are serious about growing healthy plants, you really should read at least one of these.