The Earth is our most important coworker at Goschie Farms, so we’re thrilled to have the chance to celebrate it this Earth Day. We’ve learned that working alongside the Earth to produce our crops isn’t just environmentally responsible, it’s also good business, allowing us to grow better crops more efficiently.
When our predecessors started farming this land in 1885, Earth Day was still nearly a hundred years away. This was also before tractors, harvesting machines, and so many other technological advents that have made our lives so much easier. Their minds would be blown if they could see how we are farming 130+ years later.
One thing we probably would have in common with our forebears is a deep appreciation for the amazing growing environment that we’ve inherited in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The Willamette Valley is truly one of the most geologically miraculous regions in the world. Thousands of years ago, this ~150 mile long valley was completely flooded over and over again by melted glacial water from as far North as Montana. Each time those floods rushed into the valley, they brought with them incredibly fertile soil they’d picked up along the way and dropped it onto the valley floor. The result is that even today, so many thousands of years later, the Willamette Valley is still world-renowned for the quality of its soil and is known as one of the most fertile growing regions on the planet. Sixty years before the Goschie’s even arrived and started farming in the area, the Willamette Valley was marketed to Easterners itching to follow the Oregon Trail Westward as the “promised land of flowing milk and honey.”
The going hasn’t always been easy, though. In the decades that would follow, we’ve encountered farming challenges ranging from plant disease, to the ubiquity of harmful chemicals, to water scarcity. More recently, the loss of key beneficial insect populations and the threat of wildfires continue to pose challenges.
Fortunately, we know so much more now, and we’re learning more every day about how we can farm in collaboration with the Earth so that it can continue to produce with and for us for generations to come. At Goschie Farms we were one of the earliest adopters of micro-irrigation techniques that allow us to water more crops using less water at a time when water is at an increasing premium across the American West. To protect the health of that water and our soil, we have also committed to only applying chemicals to our crops that won’t adversely affect our wider environment.
We also let the Earth take the driver’s seat on a lot of our land, and we’ve seen tremendous results. By setting aside specific areas of our farm for natural growth to occur, we promote the growth of beneficial insect populations that do a lot of the heavy lifting in reducing pests in our fields just as nature intended.
We don’t know what the Earth has planned for us or for our farm in the years to come, but we do know that we’re excited to continue learning more about how we can partner with it to produce high-quality crops and protect this special soil for generations to come.
You can learn more about sustainability on Goschie Farms here, and Happy Earth Day!