Brendon Rockey, co-owner of Rockey Farms in San Luis Valley of Colorado, tells us how the multi-generational family farm has experimented and implemented one new farming practice after another, steadily increasing their sustainability, profitability, soil health and crop quality.
The family originally identified a desire to eliminate toxic chemicals; and then realized with their poor soil health and the lack of diversity, they didn’t have a system to reduce the chemicals. They made changes one at a time and now they raise a healthy crop with a focus of bringing life back into the system.
“I think a lot of times we get stuck in this dynamic that we always think that we have to grow more crops in order to make more money,” he says. “We decided to do a higher quality crop and really became more efficient with our inputs. The way we're farming now, we feel like we've really eliminated a lot of expenses of growing the crops. Every time we spend the money now the focus is on investing in the soil.”
You'll hear about the steps Brendon and his family have taken toward bringing life to the soil, which grows a good crop, and in turn create healthier human beings. They are focused on communities -- microbe, insect, people.
“For a while, we were stuck in this real linear mindset that whenever we had a problem we’d go out and try to kill the problem off,” he says. “Adding living components to our farm are now controlling those insect populations. We’re growing a crop to feed other people, so it’s all about life. It was really confusing to me that with all this life, we were trying to solve our problems with death.”
“So instead, now we want this dynamic living system that functions properly and in the end we end up with a good crop. And it’s helping create healthier human beings as well. It’s all about this positive life.”
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Photo Credit: Rockey Farms
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