Ever wish you had a better idea of where your food comes from? Ever wish you could see first hand what that food went through before it got to your plate? If so, there’s a growing “green” agriculture movement in Elkhart County that’s looking to answer those very questions.
Included among the trailblazers in this push for greener, more sustainable agriculture are Clay Bottom Farm owners Ben Hartman and Rachel Hershberger.
Located at 11434 C.R. 34, Goshen, Clay Bottom Farm is one of the area’s largest fruit and vegetable operations dedicated solely to organic growing practices.
“Organic agriculture is what I’m personally passionate about, and I saw a rising demand in the public here locally,” said Hartman who started Clay Bottom Farms back in 2008. “People want to know where there food is coming from. Almost on a weekly basis you hear scare stories about everything from spinach to peanut butter. The people that come to us, they want to know that we’re using sustainable growing practices, and that we’re not using chemicals to grow their food. In the end, it’s about establishing a better connection with your local farmer, and knowing where and how your food was produced.”
When producing their crops, the couple use only organic growing methods, which means staying away from chemicals while at the same time working to increase farm synergy and biodiversity.
“We use a lot of composting, like grass and leaf composting, and composted animal manures for fertilizing,” Hartman said. “And we also use cover crops, which are crops that are planted after a cash crop has been harvested to help replenish the soil and cut down on erosion.”
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