The Martin Family Farm, Michigan
Know Your Farmer | The Martin Family Farm, Michigan
Matt Martin: What organic means to me is simply taking care of Mother Earth.
I farm here in Armada, Michigan, a small rural town about an hour and a half Northeast of Detroit. I have been on this farm since 2012.
I have been farming since 2005 so I do have a CSA, a community supported agriculture.
And I grow all organic vegetables from artichokes to corn, tomatoes, lettuce and anything you can think of under the sun.
I got into organics simply because I'm a selfish person. By that I mean, watching my children pick tomatoes off the vine put them in their mouths and I just said to myself, I can't spray with anything.
A Farmer's Philosophy: Give Back to Earth
That little incident led me to what I believe now is my life philosophy of giving back to the earth in which will give back to you.
We have 12 different sections of the farm which we rotate every year.
We do not have the same crop in any of those sections for a minimum of four years. So if we have tomatoes, one year, the next year, they would be in, would be year five.
We do compost everything that we have. We do spread compost on the farm on a yearly basis.
We cover crop every winter. But we also do in-row cover cropping during the season whether it be what you see behind you in the buckwheat growing in between our tomatoes to mine phosphorus out of our soil.
Cover Cropping and Building Soil
We have our Sorghum Sudan grass to combat our weeds. We have oats and peas for cover cropping and nitrogen scavenging.
I am always striving to learn new ways in order to build my soil up.
I believe strongly in the health of the soil gives health to the person.
I believe the health care epidemic in our country is faced because we have gone away from producing REAL food and just simply manufacturing what we believe is real food.
The Martin Family Farm and Real Organic Project
Now I heard about the Real Organic Project and I said, I've been looking for something like this forever.
The reason I have been looking for it is because, as we all know, a couple years ago, they decided to allow hydroponics and aquaponics into the USDA certified organic program.
Well, let me tell you one thing right now, those have nothing to do with organics.
The reason that we all got into organics was to make the soil more healthy. By doing hydroponics, by doing aquaponics, you are not improving the soil in one way whatsoever.
I've read about a lot of organic farmers and they have always talked about, “Yes, we got into it for this reason.” That's the reason I got into organics: to improve the soil's health, to make the entire system better, from the wildlife, to the water, to the bugs that are flying around us right now to every critter, right, from a groundhog….
they love cilantro by the way (laughs), and the rabbits and the field mice and the foxes, everything to bring that whole system into balance.
I don't believe that hydroponics and aquaponics do that whatsoever.
When I heard about this program, I was one hundred percent on board.
You do not have to convince me. I've been waiting for this. I want to be a part of this. I want to effect change.
So yes, the Real Organic Project is 100% for me and the the Martin Family Farm.