Investing in soil health is critical to the success of all farms, but many beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers struggle to put soil health principles into practice. There can be many reasons for this. Many of these producers have small acreage and land is expensive, and either they can't make this investment or they don't want to tie up cash crop acreage in fallow or cover crops. They might lack the appropriate equipment or knowledge to plant or manage cover crops or create/spread compost. Soil health is usually seen as a long-term investment, and socially disadvantaged farmers may see the costs as being too high or the return on investment too low, or they don't know if their efforts are having an impact. Adding to the challenge is that a majority of these farmers are leasing or renting farmland and operating on short land tenure agreements.
This video series, created by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, offers a primer on soil health principles and captures immigrant and refugee farmers discussing how and why they've made soil health a priority on their farms. New Entry has a 22-year history working with beginning, immigrant, refugee and other socially disadvantaged farmers through comprehensive training, technical assistance, and land-based training programs through our incubator farm training program.
Video 1 featuring Whitemarz Farm
Video 2 featuring Seona Family Farm
Video 3 featuring Margaret Farm
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.