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Where Does my Food Come From Series: Sustainable Farming

By: Steve Frailey Wednesday March 11, 2020 comments Tags: organic farming, sustainable farming

What is Sustainable Farming?

The concept of sustainable agriculture involved a wide arrange of techniques:

  • Organic
  • Free-range
  • Low-input
  • Holistic
  • Biodynamic

What all these methods share in common are farming practices that mimic natural ecological processes. These farming methods minimize and eliminate tilling and reduce water usage while encouraging healthy soil.


Sustainable agriculture was addressed by Congress in the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. 

The goal of that law was to:

  • Enhance environmental quality and natural resources
  • Make efficient use of nonrenewable resources
  • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations
  • Improve quality of life for farmers

Issues with Conventional Farming

  • Soil erosion and rapid decline in soil quality has become a major issue. This is due from over tilling and poor irrigation processes. Did you know? Whenever crops are grown and harvested some nutrients in the soil are lost and need to be replaced.
  • Overuse of groundwater for irrigation disrupts the natural water cycle that maintains stable water availability earthwide. Did you know? It can take 100’s sometimes 1,000’s of years to restore a naturally occurring water table.
  • Endangerment of bees. Pesticides, chemicals, parasites, diseases, and the reduction of plant diversity due to commercial agriculture are responsible for the rapid population decline. Did you know? Approximately, 1 out of every 3 bites of your food depend on bees? Click here to learn about the bees on our farm!
  • Increased CO2 levels due to the destruction of tropical forests and other native vegetation for agricultural production have played a major role in elevated levels.
  • Monoculture (the continuous growing one type of crop) can lead to widespread disease and negatively impact the local ecosystem. Planting a variety of crops can have many benefits, including improved nutrients in the soil and natural pest control. Crop diversity practices include intercropping (growing a mix of crops in the same area) and complex multi-year crop rotations. Did you know? The Great Irish Famine (1845–1849) is an example of the dangers of monoculture.

What Sustainable Farming Means to Us

At Hawaiian Organic Noni, we understand mother nature knows best when it comes to growing noni fruit. First, we never till the soil on our farm. We also only use organic mulching and composting to enrich soil fertility (we enjoy making our own) around all our noni trees. Secondly, we utilize wind energy to supplement the electrical demands of our farm, including the low-heat dehydration system that produces Noni Fruit Leather. We also use a submersible solar pump that provides 7,000 gallons per day from our wells. Thirdly, we only water the noni trees using drip irrigation and do not water the farmland as a whole. This method allows us to apply the water directly to the tree’s root system and maximize the use of the water. 

That is only 3 ways we use sustainable farming to mimic nature. Click here for the full list!  



Steve Frailey

About the Author: Steve Frailey

My wife and I (Steve Frailey) moved to Kauai, Hawaii in 1982 from our organic farm in California. There were no roads, electricity, water or buildings but lots of Noni trees (Morinda Citrifolia) in our valley. We also developed a deep relationship with Noni that was growing all through our valley.  Today we run our Hawaiian Organic Noni farm, and share the gift of health with people throughout the world.