Sunday, July 16, 2006

Larry Siegel


Larry Siegel, is a farmer who sells his produce at the farmers' market in Amherst every Saturday. The attached picture is of a board which display's his farming philosopgy. It states,
'Organic' has evolved into a loosely applied term these days; rather than add to the cofusion, I prefer to share with you my growing practices, permitting you to apply any term you wish to these practices.
One of our underylying philospohies is to use on-farm materials whenever possible. Our plantings are enriched with composted vegetable matter and manure(from our cows, pigs and poultry), supplemented by whatever aged manure is available for the hauling. Our wood ashes sweeten the soil and enrich it with potassium.
My preference is non-mechanical work. About half our 2/3rd acre under cultivation is in semi-permament beds, maintained by hand. The other half is turned annually by a tiller (when it is working). Weed control is accomplished with a sturdy hoe (and a sturdy back) occasionaly assisted by mulch.
No sprays are applied, organic or otherwise. My insect control program relies on timing of plantings, hand picking or physical barriers of one sort or another. If these do not succeed, I do not grow the crop.
By remaning small we can engage in these practices with a moderate degree of success. Our produce may lack some of the uniformity or 'perfection' of others, but we are offering the same food we ourselves eat. (I grow our family's full-year supply of vegetables and small fruit).
This is labor of love. It provides me subsistence level income and whole bunch of non-material rewards. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to engage in small-scale agriculture and fortunate to have the patrons of the farmers' market supporting us.

--- Larry Siegel

In the age of insecticide/pesticide-based farming and genetically modified (GM) crops and corporate farming, folks like Larry are a diminishing community! The most important thing that stands out in his statement is that his farm is about 2/3rd acre and is enough for his subsistence! Further, he can make do without all the chemicals, and control and efficiently tend to the small-sized farm.

Imagine if we all worked towards non-material rewards---that would be something.

Someday I hope to do what Larry is doing!

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