120 Sussex Street Jersey City, NJ 07302 Google Map downtownharvestcsajc@gmail.com
Banner
banner
<< Back to main

An Earth Day Message from our farmer, John Krueger of Circle Brook Farm

Posted 4/23/2018 7:46pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hi Folks, Happy Earth Day!

Although I’m not really sure that the happy part is appropriate. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 50 years since the first Earth Day. While progress has been made on some fronts we still face many challenges. Our oceans are in dire trouble, the species extinction rate is a thousand times higher than the normal background rate, greater than at any time since the dinosaurs went extinct. There are millions without access to safe drinking water and we are recklessly threatening our water supply further by fracking.

And climate change, the single biggest threat to human survival (beside thermonuclear war) continues to be denied and ignored by our government. There is an obvious need for political change but we are so polarized as a country that it’s hard to see the path forward in this regard.

For me, for now, the only recourse I see is individual action. We all need to try to change our lifestyle in a way that that reduces our impact on the environment, leading by example toward becoming responsible global citizens.

Agriculture is one of the largest sectors contributing to environmental deterioration and energy consumption that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Our industrialized food system and the long distance transportation of our fruits and vegetables needs to change. But while agriculture is a part of the problem it also has the potential to be a big part of the solution.

When I first became interested in organic farming it was because I believed we needed to learn to grow food without the use of toxic chemicals that not only poison the consumer but also proliferate in the environment and pose a threat to other species. As time went by I came to believe that organic Ag had a role to play in the battle against climate change by maintaining high levels of organic material, i.e. carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere. High organic matter has many benefits to the soil; better water retention, less compaction and slowly released nutrients to name just a few. Research over the past several decades has now demonstrated what organic enthusiasts have believed for years is true- that the soil is a living entity; a microbiological ecosystem. A healthy, balanced soil produces healthy plants and when the system is disrupted, bad actors (bacteria, fungi etc.) take over causing disease. In conventional farming this then leads to use of more toxic chemicals to control the disease and further degradation of the ecosystem. This is very similar to the understanding that we have come to have regarding the microflora of our gut and it’s relation to human health. The implication for the carbon cycle is that this soil food web ties up lots of carbon in the bodies of the microbes (and larger animals like earthworms) and keeps it out of the atmosphere.

The Rodale Institute has been researching the carbon cycle for decades and is convinced that transition to organic farming practices and proper grazing of animals can not only account for current carbon emissions but actually begin to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. A new paradigm for farming has emerged and has been dubbed Regenerative Agriculture. Through cover cropping, re-mineralization, composting and reduced tillage we can restore our soils and begin to mitigate the deleterious effects of CO2 and other greenhouse gases on the atmosphere.


This is what we will be moving towards here at Circle Brook Farm. It is not easy; it requires new equipment, more fallow time for the fields, additional expenses for cover crop seed and rock dusts and most of all the courage to abandon tried and true practices and risk failure by implementing new planting systems. For these practices to be implemented on a wide scale local organic farmers need the support of consumers. If you are already a CSA member I thank you and if you are still reading this lengthy tome I thank you for that as well. If you are thinking of joining the CSA program I hope you will.

But if you cannot, please seek out local organic produce at a farmer’s market or demand it at your local grocery store. Please do not buy over packaged meal kits that don’t contain local produce. Please help to spread the message.

Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising we have. Please take the time to speak with your family and friends about the importance of eating local and organic and share the message on social media.

For your health and the health of the planet!

Best, Farmer John

Enrollment for Produce Is Still Open for the 2018 Season! September 3rd, 2018

Downtown Harvest CSA is well into its 14th year of bringing healthy New Jersey food to our urban community.  Despite the unusual weather this summer, Farmer John has come through once again with

Farm Update as of July 30thJuly 30th, 2018

Hello Folks,   “And the rain let up, and the sun came up, while we were getting dry”- Van Morrison.    So it was a challenging week but it could have been worse. So I guess

Farm Update as of June 11thJuly 16th, 2018

Hello Everyone, I am happy to report that the weather has been uncharacteristically cooperative this past week. The temperatures have been moderate and we have had several nice gentle overnight rains.

Have a question?
2018 Enrollment