What Is Sustainable Agriculture?
When something is sustainable, it can support itself. Sustainable agriculture focuses on environmental health and land stewardship, the local economy and socially just farming practices.
For us at Capay Organic, we consider each piece of this sustainability triad very seriously.
Our founders Kathleen Barsotti and Martin Barnes believed in farming organically to preserve the land and protect the health of our farm workers.
Today, our farm is not only certified organic, but we go “beyond organic” or beyond what the USDA and the CCOF require.
Careful management of resources, such as water, energy and soil is key to sustainability for the land. Our farmer-in-chief Thaddeus Barsotti limits farm fertilizer to local, renewable resources – cover crops, green waste compost and poultry pellets. Thaddeus established sediments traps and native grass/plants hedgerows to prevent topsoil erosion. He is ever-conscious of increasing biodiversity and pollinators’ species. The land is home to established riparian areas and wildlife ponds.
Thaddeus established a poly-culture farm environment with five-year crop rotation of 60 fruit and vegetable commodities with many specialty and heirloom varieties.
Thaddeus’ pest management philosophy is to develop the farm ecosystem such that the plants can easily defend themselves. This means sometimes losing crops rather than using organic pesticides.
The farm’s cultivation equipment has been converted to ensure minimum tillage by minimizing tractor passes, which reduces the fossil fuels used. The farm employs highly efficient micro-irrigation systems with .90 distribution uniformity. Irrigation is synchronized to evapotranspiration (ET) to ensure proper and timely watering.
We are making the environment a better place by reducing the environmental foot print because our produce does not get transported long distances.
The Local Economy & Community
Buying locally stimulates the local economy – it’s that simple. Supporting small farms also brings jobs to the local community, allowing those employed by farms to spend money in the local community.
Giving back to our community is also important to us at Capay Organic. We work closely with local schools to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias. We also partner with local food banks.
Through our Kathleen Barsotti Foundation, we have an annual backpack and school supplies giveaway for farm workers’ children. We have also established English as a Second Language classes in our community and provide local students with scholarships.
Stewardship of Human Resources
Our workers livelihood and their safety is a top priority at Capay Organic. Our employees are part of our family. We farm year round, so many of our harvest workers are employed all year and not just seasonally.
The company trains its employees in many facets of safety, including: preventing heatstroke, minimizing sun exposure, proper lifting procedures, managing stress, avoiding falls, general warehouse safety, pruning safety and preventing repetitive motion injuries. The company complies with a Health and Illness Prevention program, Good Agricultural Practices program (GAP) and turns to a third-party certifier for food safety certification and practices.