Nisqually Valley’s Cosmic Carrot Farm innovates with eco-friendly cropping system

In the heart of Thurston County, Cosmic Carrot Farm in Yelm is pioneering a dual mission: enhancing agricultural productivity and combating climate change. Thanks to approximately $8,000 in grant money from the Washington State Sustainable Farm and Fields fund, the farm has implemented an innovative alley-cropping system designed to grow a variety of berries known for their high antioxidant levels, such as elderberry, aronia, and goumi berry.

Alley cropping, an agroforestry practice endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, involves planting rows of trees or shrubs to create “alleys” for growing agricultural or horticultural crops. Warren Neth, the visionary owner of Cosmic Carrot Farm, has utilized this technique to intersperse annual crops like vegetables between perennial berry rows, showcasing a sustainable model for agricultural development.

This environmentally friendly approach not only supports biodiversity and carbon reduction but also represents a significant step forward in the agricultural community’s fight against climate change. “Alley-cropping systems are very applicable for this area,” Neth stated, emphasizing the need for sustainable food systems that minimize environmental impacts.

The farm, which planted 500 feet of berry rows in mid-February, plans to incorporate these nutrient-rich berries into value-added products such as gummies and teas. In addition, vegetables and flowers grown between the berry rows will be available at the farm’s stand, the Yelm Farmers Market, and local restaurants starting this spring.

Research highlights the environmental benefits of alley cropping, including carbon dioxide sequestration of approximately 1.37 tonnes per acre annually and significant reductions in irrigation needs and fertilizer use. Such practices underscore the potential for agriculture to play a crucial role in mitigating climate change.

Cosmic Carrot Farm’s initiative is part of a broader movement supported by the Thurston Conservation District and the Washington State Conservation Commission, which allocated $52,798 to promote education on hedgerows and agroforestry practices. The farm’s commitment to sustainability was showcased during an educational workshop attended by 25 individuals, illustrating the community’s growing interest in eco-friendly farming solutions.

Neth, a long-time advocate for local food systems and climate change action, is driven by the belief that even small-scale efforts can make a significant difference in addressing global environmental challenges. As Cosmic Carrot Farm prepares to host spring markets and educational tours, it stands as a beacon of innovation and resilience in the face of climate adversity, inviting the community to learn more about sustainable agriculture and its benefits.

For those interested in exploring or adopting similar sustainable practices, additional information is available on the Sustainable Farms & Fields fund website, providing a pathway for local farms to contribute to a healthier planet.

Add Fertilizer Daily to your followed sources to get market news first  

Enjoyed the story?

Once a week, our subscribers get their hands first on hottest fertilizer and agriculture news. Don’t miss it!