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Why It’s So Crucial to Know Your Farmers

By: Steve Frailey Tuesday May 31, 2016 comments Tags: organic farming, Noni farm tour, free noni farm tour, steve frailey, sustainable farming

These days, when “sustainability” is mainstream and everyone is throwing around phrases like “natural,” “organic,” and “responsibly grown,” it’s hard to navigate the tangle of words, rhetoric, and jargon to get at the truth of what’s best for our planet.

One of those little sound bites you’ve likely heard if you try to eat responsibly is, “Know your farmer.”

But do you understand why this is so important? Earth Day was last month and really should be talked about and practiced every day, so here at Hawaiian Organic Noni, we’re unpacking some of our company’s sustainability ethic, as well as explaining a few of the organic practices we use every day on the farm to do our part.

Today, let’s dive into that issue of knowing your farmers!

Food: The Faceless Commodity

Knowing your farmer is far from the norm in today’s industrial agricultural society. Most people buy food from supermarkets, which, despite the often colorful marketing language on food packaging, comprise an institution designed to turn food into a transactional commodity rather than a social, cultural experience.

But this trend starts way before the food reaches the supermarket. Since World War II, giant companies have been swallowing up America’s small and midsized farms in favor of enormous monocultures of corn and soybeans. These commodity products come to us in the form of processed foods, further removing us from the actual fields where farming is done.

The amount of time people spend engaged with shopping for and preparing their food is decreasing while the number of calories we eat steadily increases. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that there’s been a corresponding rise in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other “Western” diseases as a result.

Overfed, Undernourished

In our quest to process food so it lasts longer on the shelves and is more convenient to prepare, we’re stripping away the nutrients that are so abundant in live, raw, whole foods. In short, we’re eating too many empty, toxic calories.

Even those of us who eat primarily whole foods aren’t off the hook! Industrial agriculture is also slowly draining nutrients from America’s soil, spraying toxic chemicals, and polluting our water sources, with the result that even fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as nutritious as they were when your parents were children.

Only by knowing your farmer and understanding the practices they use to ensure fertile soil and low contamination can you trust that your food is really safe, sustainably grown, and maximally nutritious. We know most of you don’t live in Hawaii, which is why we publish so much information about our farm and our farming practices on our blog! We want to give you as much insider information as possible.

If you’re ever travelling to Kauai, we also encourage you to come visit us on the farm! We give free guided tours three times a week.


Farmers are Fun!

Finally, we want to get back to that idea of food as a cultural experience. That perspective is dying in this country as more of us buy food from self checkout, eat alone in our cars, and buy processed foods made by some of the biggest corporations in the world.

But farmers are pretty awesome people, with a lot to teach about food and nutrition! The best part is, most of us love to share what we know about nutrition, gardening, and sustainability with you. There’s no knowledge hoarding or industry secrets here. We believe transparency is the path back to food that is nutritious, sustainably-grown, and truly satisfying.

Get in touch with us! We love sending out our monthly newsletter to connect with you, and we post actively on social media.

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.