K.K. Haspel

I had never heard of biodynamic

Zinnias are planted in bewtween the spinach to keep it warm

Zinnias are planted in bewtween the spinach to keep it warm

farming until I met K.K and her husband Ira who live on their farm in Southold, a quiet town in the East End of Long Island. The couple has been building on a vision they had the day they first laid eyes on their farm nine years ago. Today a variety of vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees all grow in harmony within the ecosystem.
Biodynamic farming involves homeopathic preparation of the soil, planting and harvesting in accordance with certain positions of the stars (following the Stella Natura Calendar), and, of course, composting. The idea is to have healthy soil. “Healthy soil equals healthy food, which equals healthy people.”
The farm at dusk

The farm at dusk

Considering the physical and spiritual needs of plants may sound too far fetched compared to conventional or even organic methods of farming but increasing the fertility of the topsoil is truly the only fully sustainable way to farm. The plants and birds have a symbiotic relationship: the plants attract bugs, many of which the birds eat, and the birds attract bugs which are beneficial to the plants that the birds don’t eat. No pesticides or herbicides are used which leads to stronger and more nutritious plants. K.K. found out about biodynamics in a class at the Pfeiffer Center in Chestnut Ridge and then the Nature Lyceum School for Environmental Horticulture where she now teaches a class in the subject. Her farm keeps her busy attending to her CSA orders. Unlike most Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in which you sign up for a season to receive a bag of whatever vegetables the farm grows every month, K.K. asks the customer to tell her what they want to eat. That way she can prepare a basket of food that she knows will get eaten. She has clients all over the island, including Manhattan, who know where the best tasting and healthiest food is. Not only can K.K. grow sweeter and tastier food than other farms on the island, but more of it per acre, and still she increases the nutrients in her soil.
What was more significant than what K.K. was doing was how she sounded. She is very passionate, and means it when she says “Real food is an endangered species.” We have lost touch with our food, buying and eating genetically modified food that comes from who knows where and was sprayed with who knows what chemicals. K.K. has a story that she tells of a woman who did not know tomatoes grow from seeds. The food we buy in grocery stores is tasteless and lacks nutrition, especially when compared with that grown in K.K.’s garden. If our health is something we would not like to take for granted, we can start with feeding ourselves with that which we know is healthy for us, and the planet.

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June 2009
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