Monday January 13, 2014
We often fail to take a closer look into how our products arrive in our homes. In a society built on distribution and mass production, industrial agricultural practices dominate the landscape. Those who grow the food and supplements we count on can feel compelled to treat the market more prudently than they treat the earth. But, what if there was a way for growers to meet consumer demand without compromising the planet? Many of the fruits and vegetables we consume are produced through industrial agriculture, but if you are concerned with how your products are grown, you may be interested in how Hawaiian Organic Noni brings you raw organic noni with a holistic approach to the ground it comes from.
Sustainability through History
Although market-driven farming has been a way of life for us for years, the history of sustainability in agriculture goes much further back. As early as 10,000 years ago, researchers suggest, growers in South America used soil-restoring methods to grow crops. The term “sustainable agriculture” was not popularly used until the 1980’s, but concerns had been raised since the mid 1800’s about industrial agriculture and its effect on food production, and ecological preservation.
The damage done by industrial agriculture is well documented. Overuse of fossil fuels depletes natural resources and can create pollutants for a regional ecosystem. Modern irrigation systems create excessive water runoff and other wastes. Common pesticides and chemical nutrients can affect growers, consumers, as well as the environment. If these concerns weren’t enough to affect the habits of agri-business, the question of sustainability can end up being financially destructive as well.
Where Sustainability Meets Noni
The 1990 U.S. Farm Bill included the first regulatory definition of “sustainable agriculture”. Though difficult to define, organic farmers were provided a basic template to guide their distinct practices. The bill, “sustainable agriculture” included the following characteristics:
- Satisfies human demands for food
- Enhances the quality of the environment
- Efficiently makes use of non-renewable resources
- Integrates the earth’s natural cycles
- Sustains economic viability
- Enhances the quality of life for farmers and society
There is no disputing the quality of life along the coastline of Kauai, the location for Hawaiian Organic Noni’s farm. But Steve Frailey is committed to the entire mission of sustainable noni farming. His methods of sustainability and organic preservation have been truly innovative.
Innovating as the End of Innovation
The results of industrial agriculture have been very problematic throughout the globe. By replacing mixed-farming practices with single-crop, limited-season farming, the giants of agriculture promoted practices that included the overproduction of crops to meet specific market demands. What was thought to be innovative became destructive, economically and ecologically. Overproduction led to or helped facilitate numerous failed crops, droughts, and financial desperation. As the twentieth-century progressed, the dangers of pesticides and inorganic nutrients became more and more apparent.
The answers were literally under their nose. By adhering to the earth’s schedule and preserving the soil, organic farmers have been able to avoid many of the dangers associated with industrial innovation. In the case of real organic noni, the secrets to sustainability may be even more complex.
A Unique Method for a Unique Fruit
“Sustaining” the viability of noni as a crop has troubled growers in the past. The fruit has a notoriously rapid fermentation process, turning the raw fruit into a bitter tasting, pungent smelling waste. In order to bring noni to consumers, many growers must mask the taste with other fruit juices. The real power of noni, however, is in its raw state, where it has the antioxidant capacity several times greater than other antioxidant-rich natural foods.
That’s where sustainability enters the scene. To begin with, the folks at Hawaiian Organic Noni use a no-till farming method that allows them to grow noni year-round, instead of the limited 10-month cycle standard to other growers. Indigenous earthworms are used for composting, a process which decreases runoff and preserves natural resources. On their Farm Tours, they discuss and show how they mulch, make compost, grow composting worms and use compost teas to promote healthy living soil and a healthier environment. The farm also uses windmills for electricity and solar-voltaic energy to run maybe the most innovative piece of the sustainable noni puzzle.
Results that Speak for Themselves
The next step is preservation, not just to meet consumer demand, but to preserve the beneficial phytochemicals in raw noni. To accomplish this, Steve Frailey helped develop a slow, low-heat dehydration process to create Noni Fruit Leather, the flagship of several products designed to keep you healthy, youthful, and vital.
The secret of real organic noni is preserving the power of the raw fruit. Through dehydration, the highest possible concentration of beneficial enzymes are preserved - a concentration 14 times higher than popular noni fruit juices. When it comes to sustainability, Hawaiian Organic Noni is pretty much rewriting the book.