North Valley Organics off 12th Street is our first stop these days picking up produce on Tuesday mornings. A long, dusty or muddy, and at times rather high-clearance lane leads to the tomato oasis. Minor and Matthew and a small team of creative interns cultivate a small plot here, bounded by ditches lined with prickly pear and elms. These farmers are united in their shared concern for the biological life of soil, and they tend and feed, with the devotion of mother Sandhills. Scientific instincts and long attention to the inner workings of the soil has led this team to some unorthodox practices, like keeping weeds around. They see value in the weeds that come up between the crop rows during the growing season, and they mow the weeds and reintegrate this organic matter into the soil. The small size of their plot makes it feasible for them to forgo tilling, a practice which many agriculturalists regard as an unavoidable but soil-depleting means to prepare the soil for next year's crop.
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