In the Field: Tree farm goes organic
Farmer D has a lot of projects around the U.S. One of them is located at River Farm, a tree farm nestled along the rolling hills of Oldham County, Kentucky, overloooking the beautiful Ohio River about 20 miles northeast of Louisville. River Farm Nursery currently has 250-plus acres in production and plans to continue growing in the future. Years of harsh chemical use has depleted the farm’s soil health, so Farmer D is helping start a project to improve the soil and diversify the crops. (Nick Scott/MNN)
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Farmer D: I'm at River Farm in Goshen, Kentucky, on the beautiful Ohio River.
Whew! Look at that valley! So yummy. You can grow a lot of stuff down there.
Sitting in this incredible home of Steven Paradis, owner of River Farm.
When they came here, they really wanted to take care of it, and they started planting trees. You know, I think over the years, I think Steven realized that the biology of his farm and the vibrancy of the soil life from the tree farming was being compromised, because tree farming is very chemical intensive. Over 20-odd years of doing that, the land has suffered.
This large amount of land that gets dedicated for trees leaves a lot gaps between the trees, between the wide rows, that could be productive farm land.
So, I've been actually really intrigued and when Steven told me about the project, I was really excited to get involved and see if I could help him kind of bring the ecology of his land back up that grow healthier trees with less chemicals and in that process also look at diversifying and growing food.
I always have the challenge of finding good people to take on good projects like this one. Things evolved with some of the interns that I was working with, and one in particular, Ben, was ready for a change. So Ben moved down here, I guess it has been about six months now, and just dove right in and I helped kind of lay out the plan for the farm. We are really just scratching the surface. Ben's got about a half acre in production now.
Ben: Hi. Like everything, it always goes slower than I imagined. But, it's coming together. I'm very happy with the soil. I mean, just what we're starting with is great. I'm like everybody, more would always be nice, but I think we bit off a good amount of work.
Farmer D: I think together as a team we can really showcase some innovative, new ways of farming trees and diversifying the operation to be more wholistic and sustainable.
Ben: How was that?
Farmer D: Squash blossom?
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Daron Joffe is not your typical farmer. Joffe is a 30-something eco-entrepreneur with more than a dozen projects around the nation. Actress Jennifer Garner thinks his turnips “rock” and billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson wants him to develop an organic farm at his exclusive New Jersey spa. Known as Farmer D, Joffe also creates Farmer D Organic Compost out of green waste from Whole Foods stores in the southeast U.S. In addition to innovative internship programs that help at-risk youth learn about agriculture, Joffe is involved in creating and sustaining small organic farms in developments around the U.S. Want to know more? Watch all the In the Field videos with Joffe on MNN.