“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
Jersey Natural Farm was founded in 2017 by Farmer Andrew Patterson while he was working at Ethos Health as an assistant farmer under the management of his mentor, Farmer Nora. Andrew is a graduate of Rutgers University, with a degree in Agriculture and Food Systems. It was at Rutgers where Andrew developed a passion for farming, and a sense of duty entailing the regeneration of our soils.
Here at the farm, the goal is to be as uncomplicated as possible. To achieve this goal, we have narrowed our fertility management down to the use of compost, cover crops, and minimal soil disturbance.
Compost is a balanced source of organic nutrients, and is packed with the beneficial life we want to proliferate in our soil. We couple our use of compost with the planting of cover crops in fields that aren't planted in vegetables so that we don't leave any bare soil while we try to incorporate more diversity into our crop rotation.
These practices increase organic matter in the soil, which helps to improve its structure and in turn water holding capacity, and air exchangeability - creating favorable conditions for beneficial organisms to thrive! These soil organisms are the real powerhouse of our farm, they mine nutrients from the Earth and keep pests at by in return for the sugars produced by all the plants we grow. We work hard to create this soil structure, then work even harder to maintain it by disturbing it as little as possible, which we achieve by implementing no-till farming techniques.
As a regenerative farm, the focus is not on growing big luscious crops but rather on managing our farm's ecology. If we are successful in the management of our agroecology; luscious, nutrient-dense food crops are merely a byproduct of our stewardship. The food we grow here is medicine! because the soil it comes from is healthy and alive, ensuring that it is packed with the disease-fighting compounds created by plants when grown in a natural living system.