Factors Farms® – More than Organic

Natural Factors’ 1,000+ acres of of certified organic farmland in British Columbia exemplifies true sustainable farming. Jan, you have been involved with Factors Farms® since the very beginning. Can you tell us about the practices and conditions that distinguish Factors Farms® from other organic farms?

A:The farm is situated in the alluvial valley between two lakes, and is fully isolated from any industrial, environmental, or agricultural pollution areas.

THE SOIL: Factors Farms® have truly unique soil built up over millennia. Each year as it has for generations, the alluvial valley floods, depositing a tremendous amount of organic matter. The resulting alluvial soil is extremely fertile. The topsoil is over seven feet deep in places and has unique lime stratification. The soil is continuously monitored, and the cultivated fields are periodically rested by the crop rotation. During the rest year(s), the fields are seeded with a mix of legumes, barley, herbs, and naturally occurring windfall seeds. This cover crop helps aerate the soil, increase organic content, replenish nitrogen, and prevent wind erosion. This also encourages the establishment of the beneficial insect populations that provide natural pest control. The crop rotation alleviates disease problems and reinvigorates the soil. All the spent biomass from our farm operations is composted and later reintroduced to the soil.

THE WATER: As rainwater passes through the slightly acidic soil and limestone layer, it becomes more alkaline. The unique geology of the area creates an underground river that flows beneath the farms to create many artesian springs that feed a man-made lake. The water from this lake is free of pollution and “weed seeds,” making it ideal for irrigation.

THE MICROCLIMATE: The location of Factors Farms® is ideal for herb and vegetable cultivation. Because of its elevation, the farm has a microclimate with warm days and cool nights in the summer; and months of deep snow cover in the winter.

CULTIVATION PRINCIPLES: Harmony with the natural world guides all cultivation practices. Compatible species of plants, animals, and insects coexist on the farms, each bringing a unique set of functions. For example, the ponds on the farm encourage frogs to breed. These frogs provide fantastic “mobile pest control” throughout the growing season. Also, the crops are fertilised with compost and nitrogen-rich sea plants. No synthetic pesticides (or even permissible organic pesticides) are used.

How many crops are cultivated at Factors Farms®?

A: At the time of writing this, 43 organic production crops are cultivated at Factors Farms®, as well as an additional 125 research crops in the research gardens.

Tell us about the practices around harvesting.

A: The fields are monitored and plants are sampled prior to harvest to determine the best harvest time that will yield the right amount and ratio of active constituents. When there is a need to harvest only mature plants or selective plant parts, this is carefully done by hand. The harvested fresh herbs are extracted immediately to prevent UV, oxidative, and enzymatic damage, or are dried in specially designed dryers under controlled conditions.

Natural Factors is very involved in efforts to save true species seeds. Please share some highlights.

A: Only non-hybrid, non-GMO, true species seeds are selected for seedlings that are propagated on the farm. All of Factors Farms® start from these seedlings. Since 1998, Natural Factors seed bank program has been saving seeds of many endangered and even extinct plant species, including many rare heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. The seeds are carefully stored to ensure they are viable for decades to come and available to future generations.

JAN V. SLAMA, RESEARCH SCIENTIST: has been a research scientist and member of the Natural Factors scientific advisory board since 1996. Jan has two degrees in biochemistry and microbiology from European schools. Jan’s research focuses on preventative biomedicine, phytomedicine, and nutrition. He also participates in the development of new products as a technical advisor in Natural Factors farming operations and manufacturing processes. In his research, Jan collaborates with universities and research scientists from around the world. Since 1998, Jan has been actively involved in public speaking, teaching and lecturing.

← Older Post Newer Post →