Foxtrot Organic Farm, a 6 acre certified organic farm in St. Charles, IL grows over 140 varieties of diversified fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers. Their $3,359 grant allowed them to establish a perennial hedgerow for beneficial insects and pollinators, increase soil health by applying organic cover crops and compost and minimize tillage through the purchase of a “tilther” tool, which preserves the topsoil layer and combats weed seeds in the soil, reducing time spent weeding.
“Through the purchase of our Johnny’s tilther tool, we have begun to minimize tillage & preserve our soil structure by reducing tillage to the top two inches of the soil whenever possible. We established our first perennial pollinator hedgerow including Jerusalem Artichoke & Lavender plants. Flowering early in the spring and late in the fall, these plants will provide essential pollen and nectar to beneficial insects at a time when other food is scarce. These perennial crops, along with the grant funded cover crops, build soil year after year. The only challenge we ran into with this portion of the project was availability of organic Jerusalem Artichoke stock- our original supplier was out of stock at the time of purchase, so we substituted a different organic supplier. Last but certainly not least, we were able to purchase about 85,000lbs of organic compost used to expand our production acreage by more than half. The benefits of this fertility will be realized in the upcoming 2018 season, but we have already purchased and spread compost on the new acreage. Compost brings rich biodiversity to the life of the soil, creating more resilient plants, stabilizing the soil & preventing erosion.” ~ Jeff Hughes & Ellen Kamps, Farmers