As you know, I've been in Michigan this week at a Carbon, Energy and Climate conference. I've heard a LOT of research. I've even seen "organic" research plots. I've worked with land grant university and extension staff all week. Today we had to discuss our take-aways from the conference.
I don't think they want to hear mine.
Here's my take-away: Land grant universities and associated extension staff are not doing any meaningful organic research. The VERY limited so-called organic research done at a few of these institutions will not benefit organic producers because they do not farm that way. Nor is the university based, linear, reductionist approach appropriate for organic research. Any organic production is a systems approach, a holistic approach and that can't be studied in parts.
The words "sustainable" and "organic" have been pilfered and abused. Many land grant universities have used these words to get funding for research. And then doing research that isn't of value to sustainable or organic producers.
My hopes were raised when I heard that there was organic research being done. Finally, we would have data driven experts to help us!
Those hopes have been dashed, but all is certainly not lost!
We shall continue on as a network of organic and truly sustainable farmers who share and learn from each other. We shall continue with field tours, both those that are planned and those unplanned. We shall continue to meet to share best practices and suggestions for better management. We shall continue crop selection and development as farmers have done for millenia. We shall continue to post information, ideas, problems and possibilities online for others to share in. We shall continue to look to nature to understand 'how now shall we farm'. We shall continue to nurture, steward and build the soil, feed our neighbors and save the world.
Thank goodness for friends....and the internet.