I love finding stories about organic farmers like this one in Star-Gazette.com

Kingbird Farm produces certified organic produce, beef, pigs, chickens, eggs, herbs and a lot more.
"What is really important is the fact that we are a diverse, small family farm. Everything we produce is real and wholesome - organic is not a marketing ploy," Karma Glos said.

Muckraking pigs make mulch. On the Kingbird Farm in Berkshire pigs do what pigs do best. The porkers are put in a pen filled with compost material - cow dung, horse poop and other bio-degradable material. On top of a layer of clean straw, the pigs rock and roll and root through the compost. They poke and pack the muck and compact the pile into a nutrient-filled mulch for use in nourishing the soil.

This natural process suits the organic farm just fine.

Karma and Michael Glos purchased 100 acres of hilltop in Berkshire. Much of it is beautiful forest; other parts look like rocks could be the major crop. They took the land and designed it into a well-organized and profitable business.

"We worked at building a sound structure, experimenting with different techniques and crops and staying out of debt," he said. "It takes a lot of planning to find year-round markets to keep the farm solvent." The Gloses have been in business for 10 years. They share what they learn with other farmers and encourage visitors to spend time looking at everything on the farm.

"We give farm tours, entertain school groups and Cornell University classes. We are truly proud of our farm and respect our customers and visitors enough to want them to see every aspect of our production.

"Anything we can do to promote a healthier cleaner world we will talk about," Karma said.
Both Michael and Karma often speak in the community and write articles for newspapers and magazines promoting organic farming.

Karma also has written two books giving advice on raising organic poultry. The Gloses' chickens are grown free-range, and both the laying hens and the boilers are raised without the use of medication. "The green rotating pastures and the organic feed give the eggs a deep orange yolk and exceptional taste," Karma said.

Michael said farming is a good life, especially with all the modern marketing tools.

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Andy Jones, Resurgence magazine, January/February 2003.

Buying organic produce is one way to reduce society's unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels. It is a given that the growing, preparation, transport and purchase of what we eat involves burning fossil fuels. However, the thirstiest component of this usage is not fuelling the trucks that take our food to market, it is the production of chemicals used in agriculture.

Conventional agriculture uses large amounts of petroleum-based ingredients in the artificial fertilisers used to increase yields and maximise production from available farmland. According to research carried out by Perth's Murdoch University, around one-third of the world's protein intake depends on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. Petroleum-based ingredients also make up a large portion of the pesticides that kill pests, and harm the health of consumers.

Not only is this process speeding up our consumption of a non-renewable resource, it is also doing untold damage to the agricultural land that feeds us; the same land that will be relied upon to feed generations to come. According to researchers at Murdoch, "leaching to water bodies and ground water is leading to pollution problems, soil acidification and other adverse side effects."

Organic foodstuffs, on the other hand, are not reliant on artificial fertilisers and chemicals that boost yields and temporarily make farmers' accountants smile, even as they damage farmland.Retailers such as The Organic Grocer sell food that is free of pesticide, herbicide and genetic modification; ensuring farmland continues to be valuable in years to come. The Organic Grocer's products are subject to inspection by the Organic Retailers and Growers Association of Australia to ensure they comply with that body's definition of organic.

It is inevitable that more consumers will be attracted to products resulting from this superior method of farming. Despite its lower yields and smaller market share, the organic-food industry will not always produce goods at a higher price in years to come. Conventional agriculture's continued reliance on fossil fuels ensures that food grown this way has a greater exposure to the whims of world oil prices. With the risk of conflict in the Middle East spreading to Iran, one of the world's biggest oil producers, prices already under pressure from increasing economic activity in India and China could well skyrocket even further. Perhaps only then will the folly of our addiction to "edible oil" be realised.

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