Organic farming in Montana

Ornprapa Anugoolprasert, Thailand, Economic Empowerment Fellows Program

On behalf of the participants in the Economic Empowerment Program, it is the great opportunity to be one of a few selected to participate from Thailand in this wonderful project. I have learn a lot about the culture between USA and other Asian counties. And also I have learn from the professional lecturer who gave me a lot of knowledge about USA, such as culture, population, politics, economic and so on.

From the great opportunity to stay with host family, it makes me more understanding of the American culture, especially in Montana. They are honest, sincerity and also greeting each other every time even they are not known together that very make an impression on me. Moreover, the entire place in Missoula is very clean and fresh air that no wonders, why it is called the “garden city”.

In the three days ago, I visited several organic farms that have a contact with the Garden City Harvest or the CSA (Community Supported Agricultural). The first farm that I visited was “Lifeline Farm”. This farm belongs to Steve and Luci. They start to set up their farm around 1978 at Victor town, Montana. Luci said that she and her husband design to start for producing some food for the people in their community and some areas in Montana. She thought that if the US people want to be a sustainable livelihoods, they just have to change the idea from waiting the import foods to making their food by them self. Therefore, now she product a lot of vegetable to the supermarket “Good Food Store” where support a lot of organic products from local farm in Montana and other state in US. And this farm also product some vegetable seeding for the person who want to grown the vegetable by themselves in their home garden.

The second farm that I visited was “Homestead Organics Farm”. This farm is a small organic farm that operated by Laura Garber and Henry Wuensche on around 11 acres. This farm has been certified organic by Montana Sustainable Growers’ Union called “Homegrown”. They have a lot of verities of vegetable; lettuce, kale union, chilly, tomato and so on. They also have goat and several kinds of poultry, such as chicken, duck and turkey for sale the meat and also for getting the manure. This farm serves the community through a CSA that will open at the farm on Tuesday and Thursday from May until October.

The interesting point from these farms is they place importance on the soil nourishment. They do a lot of work with a cover crop and rotation for rest the soil between 2-5 years and try to use for producing the vegetable about 2 years and recover again by growing the green manure or some cover crops. I think this is a very important think that let them can get many organic products from their area even they do not need to use all their land.

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