Our Thoughts

The mission of Red Fire Farm is to be a year-round local source for high-quality food and garden plants grown using organic principles that result in safe food and a healthy environment. With that in mind, we’d like to share our thoughts about how and why we farm the way we do. If you eat our food, you have a hand in what we create. You support it and keep it going. These are some of our guiding thoughts that motivate the farm and farmers, and help create our food.

Mixed Vegetables

Organic Practices

At Red Fire Farm we believe there is a better way to farm than the chemical status quo that has dominated the American landscape and food system during the last half century. We believe that by working with the natural rhythms of the soil, plants, people, and microorganisms we can grow excellent tasting food without the environmental and health risks that can accompany chemical intensive farming practices. We practice Certified Organic Farming and maintain certification with the Baystate Organic Certifiers, which is an accredited certifier of the USDA Organic Certification program. We believe organic certification helps assure that we make good decisions about our farming practices. We always seek to meet and exceed not only the letter of the organic farming rules, but also the intent. As organic farmers we never use chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or genetically modified plants. Instead, we rely on things like compost, crop rotation and cover crops to keep our land and crops healthy and productive.

Farm land

Farmland Preservation

The importance of preserving our region’s best farmland relates back to the idea of our region being able to grow its own food. Without good land, farming is pretty much impossible. Farmland that is paved or made into suburban houses and lawns can not easily be returned to a productive condition. We also think that farm land and open space contribute to the overall well being of any community. Farms and forests can be critical to preserving the purity of our water resources, supporting wildlife, and providing places for hiking, biking and bird watching among other outdoor activities. We believe that every effort should be made to keep farmland from being developed, and also that mechanisms must be developed for making farm land affordable to new generations of farmers.

Farm worker

Training New Generations of Farmers

We recognize that our country is low on farmers (less than 2% of the total population) and that of these few remaining farmers most are nearing or past the normal retirement age. Farming takes lots of people, particularly farming in ways that are more ecologically oriented. If we are going to rebuild our food system into a “locavore” food system, we are going to need a lot more farmers! Most young adults who are interested in farming for a career don’t come from farming families, and thus are in need of farm skill training in addition to farmland access. At Red Fire Farm we attempt to provide opportunities for farm skill building among our staff.

Part of the Community

Tomato fair

Since we think agriculture is such an important part of our community, as farmers we seek to be integral and active members of our community. We feel that Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) helps build community around the fundamental act of eating. We also seek to organize our farm in such a way that we can support low income people and help make local organic food available to everyone.

Annually, we donate over $90,000 worth of produce to food relief organizations in the Western MA and Boston areas, such as the Food Bank of Western Mass, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, and Food for Free.

In addition to our plowing and planting work, we also make time to reach out and participate in our broader community. We frequently give agriculturally related presentations at schools, conferences, churches and community events. Ryan has also participated in the broader sustainable agriculture community as a board member of the non-profit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), and also as a grant reviewer for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture and Research and Education (SARE) group.