RTB Farming Philosophy

At RTB, we farm using a holistic philosophy that is derived from Permacultural, Biodynamic, and Soil Re-mineralization perspectives. We use a non-dogmatic approach to meet the needs of our environment and are utilizing an eclectic range of practices including: a variety of organic mulches, on-farm livestock-based compost, vermicompost, post-industry organic sea resources, mineral rock dust amendments, biodynamic preparations, astronomical planting, season extension, reduced irrigation, cover crops and crop rotation; all in order to grow the most health-sustaining soils and nutrient-dense, bioactive food and medicine.

“We strive to work with nature, not against it. We are dancing and not wrestling with our ecological surroundings, and we are constantly adapting ourselves and our practices in line with our values and a philosophy of respect for our interdependence.”
Benoit Azagoh-Kouadio, RTB Garden Manager

Organic and Beyond

The general understanding of the term “organic” is food that is produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or genetic modification. In other words, food which has not been intentionally poisoned. At RTB we believe this is an essential and important aspect of producing healthy, life-giving food. However, we don’t believe that nourishing agricultural practices can simply be defined by what they are omitting.

The original meaning of the term organic agriculture–and the meaning that we subscribe to here at RTB–refers to organic matter and the practice of adding life-based plant and animal materials into the soil. These materials decompose and feed the soil microbial web, sequester carbon, nourish healthy soil structure, and increase the soil’s ability to hold onto key nutrients and retain moisture. This is not a process of omission; but rather, a process of actual nourishment.

Official USDA organic certification requires that foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing factors like soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. For small farmers, organic certification through the USDA is a significant process and can be prohibitively expensive. It can also restrict farmers from using their own on-site compost and other full-circle soil amendments. Meanwhile, large industrial organic farms may be certified as organic, but because soil practices are minimal, this food can remain minerally and nutritionally deficient. 

For these reasons we–and some other small farms–choose not to be certified organic, and rather focus our resources and energy on utilizing the best practices for nourishing our soil. Healthy soil is what gives us healthy food. Synthetic-free at RTB is a given, and we believe that not intentionally poisoning our food should be the most elementary standard. What we really pride ourselves on is producing nutrient-rich food, the likes of which can’t be matched by anything produced on an industrial scale, labeled “organic” or not.

We strive to be as transparent as possible with our complex way of farming and the best way to understand ‘our ways’ is to come for a farm tour! If you have questions about our farming practices or want to join us for a tour please email us at:  info@roundthebendfarm.org