In the Green Room: Inside an organic farm
Chuck: OK, we are here at Serenbe Community with Paige Witherington, who is the director for farming operations here at Serenbe. So Paige, tell us a little bit about how this works.
Paige Witherington: Alright, well we are a certified organic farm. We are on about 20 acres. We are intensively growing fruits and veggies on four. We are kind of slowly expanding into the rest of the acreage to accommodate the growth of the community. We are incredibly diversified. We have about 350 different varieties of crops.We have laying hens, we have honeybees, we have shitake mushrooms. So we try to dabble in all of these different things to try to please our community and the restaurants here.
Chuck: Now it is all organic here, right?
Paige Witherington: We are certified organic by QCS, so, you know, we can actually call our products organic. And we have a certifier that comes out and makes sure that we are doing everything in check. It kind of steps up the record-keeping process, so we get to write down what we do every single day. But that is kind of a fun part of the job. So an organic farm is sort of a new approach to old agriculture. Farmers have been doing it for centuries, but then once we found all of these chemicals that would make out crops grow, everyone kind of went into the chemical area where they would apply different synthetic fertilizers, pesticides… And without really taking into account the repercussions of what it is doing to the biology and how it is creating this lifeless farm where you are just growing one crop that is really kind of struggling to survive because it has got no health. You know, what we are doing here with organic agriculture is really concentrating on the biodiversity of the farm and trying to really increase just life in general. Because the plants thrive so much more when you have got a well-built soil and birds and insects. So basically we are trying to mimic these natural systems to grow crops to make them as healthy as possible – and in turn… make people healthy. (Laughter)