In 2016, the Bruderhof community enterprise purchased the property in the New York State area as an opportunity to start growing their own produce and livestock on a large scale. For this to be sustainable in the long run, they need to make sure that their methods are sound and that they are providing the best possible soil conditions for their plants and animals to grow prosperously. The Bruderhof turned to agricultural consultant Todd Harrington and his company Organic Land Care for help with soil testing, methods assessment, and best management practices for the most sustainable production of healthy food products at Bruderhof Farm in New York’s Mount Community and Maple Ridge Community.
Starting and maintaining an organic farm that produces thousands of pounds of vegetables and fruit each year is quite the challenge! That’s why the Bruderhof community enterprise reached out to agricultural consultant Todd Harrington for his experience and expertise.
Todd was brought in and compiled his experience into an overview of soil testing and organic methods that would be useful for any commercial farmer or project interested in growing organically without any synthetic pesticides or herbicides.
These farmers have been challenged with a problem, such as the land being used was previously occupied as an orchard farm, leaving behind metal contaminants.
To remedy this, a regenerative method was utilized called cover crop, for field prepping.
There are many benefits to planting cover crops. Cover crops help improve soil health by adding organic matter, preventing erosion, and improving water infiltration and retention. They also can provide nitrogen, reduce weeds, and provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects.
While this help improves soil fertility and structure for the following year’s crop. No matter what time of year they are planted, cover crops can provide numerous benefits to the land and its soil health.
What you are looking at in the above images is nitrogen-fixing cowpea with a large rhizobium.
Rhizobium is a soil bacterium that forms a symbiotic relationship with leguminous plants. The rhizobia bacteria live in the plant’s root nodules and convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium, which the plant can use to grow. This process is called nitrogen fixation.
Rhizobium benefits both the plant and the environment. The plant gets a source of nitrogen, which it would otherwise have to find in the soil. And because rhizobia convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium, they help reduce pollution from nitrous oxide emissions.
Equipment and implementations
Shown above, is the production of Liquid Biological Amendments. To get this rich organic liquid compost to the fields, the team was able to modify their field sprayers with two 50-gallon sprayers for easy output.