[permaculture] The Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture - The Atlantic

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Thu Oct 9 02:09:22 EDT 2014

The Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture
By studying the immune systems of plants, they've developed a technique
that eliminates the need for chemicals.

"Disillusioned by standard agriculture methods, Zook searched fervently for
an alternative. He found what he was looking for in the writings of an
18-year-old Amish farmer from Ohio, a man named John Kempf.

Kempf is the unlikely founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture
<http://www.advancingecoag.com/>, a consulting firm established in 2006 to
promote science-intensive organic agriculture. The entrepreneur’s story is
almost identical to Zook’s. A series of crop failures on his own farm drove
the 8th grade-educated Kempf to school himself in the sciences. For two
years, he pored over research in biology, chemistry, and agronomy in
pursuit of a way to save his fields. The breakthrough came from the study
of plant immune systems which, in healthy plants, produce an array of
compounds that are toxic to intruders. “The immune response in plants is
dependent on well-balanced nutrition,” Kempf concluded, “in much the same
way as our own immune system.” Modern agriculture uses fertilizer
specifically to increase yields, he added, with little awareness of the
nutritional needs of other organic functions. Through plant sap analysis,
Kempf has been able to discover deficiencies in important trace minerals
which he can then introduce into the soil. With plants able to defend
themselves, pesticides can be avoided, allowing the natural predators of
pests to flourish."

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