Operating organically – Waters Farm

Many farmers are stereotyped as being “country bumpkins.” But if you were to talk with Randy Dodson about work being done at the Waters Organic Farm, you might think he was talking about a science project.

Probably, because he is.

John Hoax, a graduate student who works at the farm said, “what organic farming tries to do is mimic natural life.”

The 110-acre farm, located in south Putnam County, houses several specified studies dealing with agriculture and various methods of organic growing.

According to Dodson, they are trying to demonstrate to local growers that you can grow within the natural habitat.

The two have been working together to measure the effects of tillage on the ground, high tunnels to extend growing seasons and among other things have even experimented with methods of using a natural pesticide commonly known as the lady bugs.

The farm is also supplied with the waste that comes from Chartwells to make compost.

“Rather than filling up landfills,” Dodson said, “we can reverse the process and make use of the waste.

The community benefits by getting locally grown fresh foods. The economy benefits by using less resources transporting the food.”

When the average bite off your plate travels over one-thousand miles, Dodson calls local growing “eco-logical.”

The more local farmers we can get, the more we can relieve our dependency on huge farms, Dodson said.

Dodson does admit that they will not be able to grow tropical fruits such as bananas and oranges but said they can certainly make a difference.