COLUMBUS, Ga. – Organic farming is all the rage right now. However Garver Akers, who is the farm manager at Neal Pope’s Farm, says it’s more than a trend for him and simply a way of life. Akers credits clean and organic foods for his healing from a rare bout of cancer when he was younger.
“I was fed the cheapest of cheap foods that a single mother could buy and also having a lifestyle that’s not enough exercise being in doors too much and also being a sickly child I was diagnosed with the kind of cancer no one has ever had before. I quickly realized the companies that may or may not be implicated in the disease with pollution and other issues were the same companies making my medicine and were the same companies involved in the food system,” says Akers.
The cost of eating organic is why many people end up buying conventional fruits and veggies. However, Garver says there’s a reason we pay a little more for an organic tomato versus a store bought one. Akers says the smaller organic farms require more man power. He says they can be especially labor intensive when making the transition from conventional to organic. That is exactly what is happening on Neal Pope’s Farm right now in Salem, Alabama. Akers is overseeing the project and says they are about 2 and a half years away from being able to apply for an organic certification. However, he says they have already been using organic practices for a little more than a year. He says his main goal is to make the farm land sustainable. Akers says the key to sustainability is nourishing the depleted soil. He says if you improve the soil now it will take care of the plants in the long run.