We’ve been certified organic since 2004, which means we’ve been growing the highest quality food since the beginning of Rise ‘N Shine. When we say “certified organic”, this means we:
- Grow in soil that hasn’t been treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for more than 3 years
- Grow from seeds that are untreated and not genetically engineered
- Grow in soil that the farmer enhances naturally using certified organic fertilizers
- Grow without the use of prohibited substances such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides
But it’s not just about providing the best produce to our Local Farm Box members – our sustainable practices are informed by what we hold dear.
Mitch previously served as a Coosa River Basin Initiative staff member for river advocacy. He has firsthand knowledge of how our local waterways are affected by our actions. As a certified organic farmer, his knowledge of how methods in food production are affecting our environment and our physical health is extensive. Using the land responsibly and sustainably, caring for the well-being of all of our staff members, and offering foods to you that are healthy and safe are our highest values.
Here’s what a sustainable farming process looks like:
Step 1: Prepare the Soil
Soil tests tell us how much of which nutrients are needed for optimal growth. We use compost, cover crops, organic fertilizers, and lime to strike the perfect balance, and we rotate our plots of land to give it breaks from growing the same things over & over (this also reduces pests).
Step 2: Plant
Seeds and plants start in our greenhouses or directly in the ground. We use natural cultivating methods to clear weeds and prepare the beds – never using synthetic herbicides! This keeps our soil and waterways clear of harmful chemicals.
Step 3: Managing Weeds and Pests
This is where organic farming really differs from conventional agriculture. We rely on hand weeding, tractor cultivation, hand pest management, beneficial insects, and eco-friendly pest products to keep our products chemical-free. It’s better for our bodies and much better for the planet!
Additionally, this protects our staff from working around harmful chemicals. This process is much more labor-intensive than broadly spraying herbicides and pesticides, but we think it’s well worth it!
Step 4: Harvest
Once our fruits and veggies are ripened and ready on the plant, it’s harvest time! Why is that important to note? Many producers harvest before ripeness, then spray the produce so that it will ripen artificially. Produce allowed to sun ripen on the plant taste much better, so this step is integral.
Step 5: Clean and Store
We wash our produce in only clean water. Our produce may not look extra shiny like what you might see in the grocery store, but that look is often achieved by adding fake “waxes” to make fruits & veggies look better. Rise ‘N Shine produce is never treated or stored using artificial methods that could compromise the integrity of our products.
Our eggs are not organic because organic feed is not available to small producers at a reasonable price. However, they are produced as naturally as possible. We raise pastured eggs, which means our flock of 3,000 chickens lives as any happy chicken would: free to graze on organic pasture. They’re also fed a non-GMO diet. Between these two practices, our eggs are richer and even tastier than the grocery store alternative.
Our methods are at our heart
We (Mitch & Elisabeth) both grew up visiting our families’ farms. Over the years, we realized how meaningful it was to become stewards of the land. Even today, we still feel the connection between what our grandparents and great grandparents invested & nurtured into the earth.
We hope to share that love of the land with our girls, Camille, Laine, and Quincy. Maybe, they’ll let the land change them in ways that our families’ lands changed us. It’s shaped our world view and allowed us to invest in something that people in our community can benefit from for years.
The least we can do is treat the land well, grow the best food for you, and enjoy every second of it!