Sustainable Agriculture and the Local in the Lowcountry
Transcript Sustainable Agriculture and the Local in the Lowcountry
Sustainable Agriculture and the
Local Foods Movement in the
Local and Sustainable Foods Advocate
New York ‘04 * California ‘05 * South Carolina ’06-’14 * Virginia ’10
Rooting Down Farms
Vegetable Garden Educator + Edible Landscaper
Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest
2011 - present
LLF Incubator Farm Manager + Mentor
Dirtworks Incubator Farm 2013-2015
Why Eat Local?
Michael Pollan says it best...
- Fresher + Healthier + Seasonal
- Keeps farmers on the farm and farmland as farms!
- Supports your local economy +
- Get to know your farmer and their production practices
-Reduces your carbon footprint
How to Eat Local in the Lowcountry
*** Farmers Markets
*** Earth Fare and Whole Foods
– Grow Food Carolina
*** Farm Stands
Find the Fork!
*** GROW YOUR OWN!
Agriculture in the Lowcountry
- Plantations – Rice, Indigo, Cotton
- Cabbage, Potatoes, Tomatoes
Hello NAFTA, Goodbye Domestic Agriculture!
- Pine trees
turns into neighborhoods
(big thanks to air conditioning)
Organic Agriculture almost non-existent until
well after the millennium.
Challenges in Agriculture
-Sandy Soil – low nutrients
-Lack of Resources – farm inputs, equipment, mentorship
-Disease and Insect Pressure
-Farming is Hard Work!
-Farming does not traditionally pay well – era of Cheap Food
-Farming is Gambling – In Hand of Mother Nature
-Quality Farmland is expensive
-New farms sprouting up and old one’s finding success
-Smaller scale than in the past
-Lowcountry Local First’s Growing New Farmers
- Dirtworks Incubator Farm
= Farm Community!
Production Techniques in Sustainable
Soil Health as primary goal
Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants!
- Cover Cropping
- Incorporation of beneficial microbes and
- Use of compost and manures
- Reduced tillage + conservation tillage
-Integrated Pest Management
-Promotion of biodiversity
-Crop rotation + diversification
-Minimization of petroleum inputs
-Use of biodegradable and natural mulches
-No synthetic fungicides, pesticides,
herbicides or fertilizers
- Deliver and sell products to local markets
Technology in Small Scale Food Production
On the Farm…
-Small 35 horsepower or less tractor with a
-Implements used for soil preparation
- disc harrow with a bar
- bed shaper
- Flame weeder
In the Garden…
-Rototiller or broadfork
-Sturdy pick up truck
Garden and Vegetable Issues
-Squash Vine Borer
- Stink bugs
- Mole Crickets
- Black Rot
Going Local in your own Backyard
We can grow an abundance of food in our back (and front!) yards and we
can grow it all year round!!
Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest
- Founded Spring 2011 as a part time endeavor
- Full time July 2012
-Celebrating 4 years this month!
-First Employee in 2015!
To Grow Gardeners in the Lowcountry
and take the Guesswork out of
Gardens of many Shapes and Sizes…
Food Not Lawns!
Gardening in Small Spaces
So you want to be a farmer…
or just grow your own food
Farming internship and apprenticeships:
-ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
- WWOOF – Willing Workers on Organic Farms
- Lowcountry Local First – Growing New Farmers
Farm and garden materials:
-7 Springs Farm, Check VA
-Kinsey Ag Services
-Sea Island Savory Herbs
-Clemson Extension website and
-Clemson extension master
-The Citrus Guy blog
Gardening When it Counts – Steve
The New Organic Grower – Elliott
Growing Fruits and Nuts in the
South - William Adams and Thomas