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The New Organic

By Rick Knoll PhD

rick knollIn a sustainable farm system, the soil is an ecosystem, increasing in biotic diversity, evolving through successive states and progressing to a climax situation. As ecological farmers, we have the ability to nurture this progression while extracting a living from the miraculous organism we call the soil.

The only way soil develops is by plant roots penetrating and interacting with it. And the only way this interaction is sustainable is if untold numbers and types of soil microorganisms flourish in and on the plants’ roots and vascular systems. This interaction is so complex that, though we may know the complete DNA of many animals, no one has unraveled the miracle of soil—a miracle so complete that the plant and soil interaction becomes a continuum. This soil continuum is the only situation that produces truly nutritious food which, in turn, restores our bodies on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many modern organic production practices—tillage, irrigation, monocultures, hydroponics, modern organic salad production—disturb and often disconnect plants from the magic of the plant-soil interface.

At Knoll Farms, we have placed this single strategy at the heart of our food-production philosophy and we will continue to be leaders in soil evolution for the production of nutritious food. Organic farming was straight-forward and had integrity until the early 90s. Due to the changes in the industry in the last decade, we believe that we are forging straight ahead while the organic industry has taken a sharp oblique. We have decided to refrain from using the “O” word in the pursuit of our next evolutionary step. The new organic law says there is nothing beyond organic. We beg to differ. We feel that the soil continuum is a fundamental aspect of ecological production that is beyond what “organic” has become!

Dr. Knoll, also known as Farmer Rick, is our real life Dr. Red—we’ve given Dr. Red our Dr. Rick Knoll’s education, background, and charming characteristics. We think Dr. Knoll is a national treasure; he’s created a one-of-a-kind living farm on 10 acres that produces over 100 acres worth of organic, nutrient dense food annually. His growing system, the taste of his food, and the very air on his farm are unparalleled – well beyond state-of-the-art. Dr. Knoll truly is a man outstanding in his field. Visit his website at Knollorganics.com.

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