- Author: Jeffrey P. Mitchell
September 3, 2021
Michiel Bakker, the Vice President for Global Workplace Programs for GOOGLE, along with Douglas Gayeton, the creative leader for The Lexicon of Sustainability (https://www.thelexicon.org/ ), spent a full day on September 3, 2021 first visiting the NRI Project field in Five Points, CA and then the farms of John Diener right up the road, and of Phil Foster in Hollister, CA. The purpose of their visit was to learn about and see efforts that are being made to realize conservation (or more recently, “regenerative”) agriculture systems here in California. CASI's Jeff Mitchell coordinated the day's tour that also included retired Madera, CA organic farmer, Tom Willey.
While at the NRI study site, the group looked at several reduced disturbance pieces of equipment and also witnessed the increased aggregation of long-term no-till and cover cropped soils in the NRI field compared to that of standard tillage.
At Red Rock Ranch, the Five Points farm of Diener, the group along with John's son, Justin, talked about water issues that California is facing as well as efforts the Dieners are making to address water shortages. They also learned what goes into the large organic tomato fields that they visited and learned about the minimum pass tillage practices that they use.
At Pinnacle Organically-Grown Produce, the Hollister, CA farm of Foster, the visitors saw a variety of Phil's innovations including his on-farm compost production techniques, his use of strip-tillage, and his development of the use of single-line cover crops that economize greatly on seed and water.