I headed to the Rundel Auditorium in The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) a little late for Thursday Thinkers. Elizabeth Henderson had already started speaking on the topic, Locally Grown: Green and Economically Viable? She farms at Peacework Organic Farm (2218 Welcher Rd., Newark).
The farm itself is owned by The Genesee Land Trust, Inc. (500 East Ave.) and leased to the farm for long-term use necessary to maintain organic methods. The farm offers people the opportunity to experience farming and to get 7 to 11 items of fresh vegetables for a full 6-month season from May 21 through November 15. The monetary cost is small, but it also requires 12 hours of farming in 3 4-hour morning shifts.
The farm is certified organic, meaning they use techniques of replenishing and recycling rather than using chemical pesticides and commercial fertilizers. They use cover crops like buckwheat to keep weeds down and to keep the soil healthy and nutrient-rich. They also maintain a "microherd" of microorganisms that work the soil year-round. In addition, they monitor reports from other farms and agricultural organizations to prepare for particular kinds of pests. Once, for instance, they sprayed their potato plants with copper to block a late blight — one of a few chemical-oriented approaches they take. More often, though, it's a matter of understanding the balance of flora and fauna to keep pest populations at bay.
They offer a Mayday Celebration on May 2 this year including a potluck dinner. In addition to Peacework Organic Farm (2218 Welcher Rd., Newark), check out The Genesee Valley Organic Community-Supported Agriculture (GVOCSA) for a similar program.