Our Values & Vision at Old Plank Farm

“With respect to the food we eat—the products of agriculture—it’s value does not lie strictly in the minute physical composition of the substances so much as in the vitality it gives to human beings…Plants will take from properly prepared soil the substances necessary to their own vitality, and human beings who eat the plants will likewise partake of these revitalizing forces.” —from What is Biodynamics? Seven Lectures by Rudolph Steiner


Commercial Organic farms versus Community organic farms

At Old Plank Farm we function outside of the trending agribusiness organic practices; our values

Organic farming in the United States has become highly commercialized and along with that, the value of organic is being compromised. The government regulations that define organic farming are lining up more and more with what is allowed in conventional, non-organic farming practices. Here’s a couple of examples.

  • Organic Pesticides. The use (and abuse) of pesticides is commonplace on both conventional and certified-organic farms. They are used to try and fight bug problems, of course, and they are seen as a management solution for bugs on crops. DOW chemical currently makes pesticides that are being allowed for use on certified-organic farms. They also make pesticides that are used on conventional farms. Many of the organic pesticides on the market today (made by DOW and others) are broad spectrum pollinator (honeybee) killers. Anyone want to bet that in 20 years or so, we’re going to “discover” that the current organic pesticides turn out to be not-so-great for our health or the environment, after all? Read More.

    How to farm without pesticides. At Old Plank Farm we believe in a holistic health approach to bugs: pests are a sign of unhealthy crops/soil or some other stress that a crop is experiencing. Eliminate the stress and create healthy soil and the bug problem with go away. A healthy crop will not succumb to pest damage; therefore no stop-gap measures like pesticides are needed. Health is at the heart of how we manage potential pest problems (and we certainly have seen, and learned from, pest problems here!). We focus entirely on building healthy soil, planting healthy transplants, and caring for our crops through weeding and watering to keep them healthy. Occasionally we still loose a few crops to bugs, but we never loose very much, so we still have a wide variety of vegetables to give to our farm members. Most importantly, the vitality of Old Plank Farm vegetables is passed on to our farm members. The vegetables that reach farm members are healthier than any commercially available crop that’s been sprayed with organic pesticides. Read More.

  • Who Owns Who? Horizon and Earthbound, both popular organic vegetable and dairy brands in the grocery stores, are owned by Dean. Van’s is owned by Tyson, and Kashi is owned by Kellogg. The list goes on and on, you can read it here. They may have slightly different practices and end products, but the corporations calling the shots for these organic brand names don’t farm in this community, and I very much doubt that they farm with any community’s best interest in mind. Most grocery stores have jumped on the marketing bandwagon of local, organic produce. But most of that produce still is coming from other communities, and from commercial organic farms.

    Who Owns Old Plank Farm? I do. And I live at Old Plank Farm, I work at Old Plank Farm, and I eat what Old Plank Farm produces. We value knowing

First, many commercially available organic products (those most likely found in major retail groceries) are actually owned by multinationals that are engaged in non-organic farming as well. They created these organic brands because they see a place for profit. We at Old Plank Farm are organic because we see a place

grown on farms functioning in the same exact paradigm as products grown on conventional farms in this country. In fact, most of the organic labels you may be familiar with

  • cornucopia pdf who owns who

  • plasticulture

  • hybrids recognized as gmo in europe

  • grocery store false advertising

  • usda and fsma rules and regs, why member based is essential

  • intention behind our work. their goal: profit in a capitalist system. our goal: making sure you are kept healthy by the products of our farm.

  • This is a very serious problem, both for you (if you care about and want to take responsibility for your health) and for us at Old Plank Farm (where we care about your health, the health of land that we farm, and the community we are in).

  • Plasticulture. Organic agriculture generally relies on petroleum products like plastics just as much, if not more, than conventional agriculture. One of the more upsetting organic practices being used today is plasticulture (or plastic mulch), or lining fields with plastic to help suppress weeds and heat up the soil to help heat-loving crops mature bigger and faster. It’s cheap and efficient, but every year the plastic is thrown away or burned. That’s a lot of non-reusable plastic. I would also question the effect it has on the soil beneath it, or the fruit sitting on top of it, especially on hot sunny days. As of right now, I’m not sure if many others are questioning it, because it is helping keep the cost of growing an organic melon or pepper down.

    How to farm without plastic mulch. At Old Plank Farm we are committed to not putting plastic mulch in our fields. In our Wisconsin climate, that means it may be harder to get

long term plans for Old Plank farm

With your support, we

  • zero off-farm inputs

  • seed saving

  • true food security

  • true quality and live food

  • improve quality of life and health for long term members

    • encourage you to take back your health, take control of maintaining it.

  • need to get there year by year through your commitment

  • rudolph steiner and biodynamics-quotes from hugh courtney’s book

  • very long term-peeling onions in my rocking chair. Angelica knitting mittens for her and Jake’s great-grand-children

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enjoy the ride

yes there are a lot of problems, and a lifetime of work to create something worth “sustaining.” but that’s no reason to take things too seriously all the time. enjoy the process of regaining health and vitality. just as we enjoy the process of building a farm ecosystem of true sustainability. value of joy and fun as it relates to everything we create and share with the world. that includes the vegetables we grow! we grow food with intention. once it is in your hands, we ask you to eat it with intention, and enjoy the results.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy year,

Stephanie Bartel (Old Plank Farm Founder)