Innovation on the Farm
Earlier this month, at the Urban Farm, Farmer Shaun was visited by the 7th Grade students from Frelinghuysen Middle School. Half-way into their planting class, Farmer Shaun calls out to the many students with dirt under their fingernails, "What are we adding to our soil?" and in unison the kids respond, "Rock dust!"
At the Urban Farm, we are teaching innovative lessons in sustainable agriculture. Our students are learning how to grow the best possible vegetables and fruits by taking care of the soil. Adding basalt rock dust (pictured above) to the soil is an old farming technique that is slowly being reintroduced around the world. Basalt is an indigenous rockformed from cooled lava; it is unique because it cannot be altered by the natural environment. In other words, the rock's composition is just as it was when the lava came out of the ground, with the beneficial minerals safely stored. In farming, the rock is pulverized and added to the soil as a means of reintroducing these useful minerals organically. Adding basalt rock dust to our soil benefits growing vegetables by:
Contributing to the strength of cell walls, making plants more resistant to pests and disease
Strengthening stems and helping plants stand tall (enabling them to capture more light to maximize photosynthesis)
Improving drought resistance
Increasing root growth and boosting yields
Enhancing nutrition and flavor of fruits and vegetables
At Grow It Green, we stay up-to-date on the newest farming initiatives so that we can foster the next generation of environmentally savvy gardeners, farmers, and consumers.