Organic and Sustainable Farming Impacts

Great Road Farms

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Great Road Farms is a small certified organic farm that supplies fresh produce to local farmers markets and restaurants in Princeton, NJ area. The innovation the farm has created is being a sustainably smart farm, which limits its waste and limits its carbon footprint.

UN Sustainable Goal #12 emphasizes that “urgent action is needed to ensure that current material needs do not lead to the over extraction of resources or to the degradation of environmental resources, and should include policies that improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and mainstream sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy,” (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12). The farm clearly aligns with all of these guidelines.

Authors

Keith Dinkl

Keith Dinkl

Romi Joseph

Romi Joseph

Richa Patel

Richa Patel

Brett Schweyher

Brett Schweyher

Robert Snitkovsky

Robert Snitkovsky

School

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers Business School

Professor

Carmen L Bonilla

Carmen L Bonilla

Innovation

Some ways that the farm specifically fulfills the UN’s Goals is that it reduces its carbon footprint by only serving the local community with its produce, therefore, eliminating the need for shipping it far distances at a high cost/carbon cost. This both reduces waste and works to preserve environmental resources-both points listed in the UN’s Goal.

Co-Owner Kyle Goedde also mentioned using cover crops. Cover crops are plants that work to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, improve crop diversity, and increase crop yields.

The company prioritizes the health of their soil in order to prevent this kind of loss and the overall factor of wanting to provide produce in the best condition possible to their customers.

Kyle also reported that by his farming methods focusing on soil health that it has helped reduce the risk of diseases and weeds. They value the nutritional quality of the food they provide. Great Road Farms use of cover crops has led them to yield more diverse crops each season and continue to deliver high quality consistently. They have not seen an increase in yield through this method, but do say that they have been quite consistent with little to no loss. Their ultimate goal is to remain consistent in what they plant/harvest.

Organic and Sustainable Farming Impacts

Pictures Courtesy @greatroadfarm on Instagram. Check them out!

Inspiration

There were many reasons and causes leading to the sustainable innovation and implementation at the farm.

Kyle grew up with a fascination with gardening and enjoying fresh produce from an early age. After studying at Rutgers University, he traveled to Hawaii to work on organic farms through the WWOOF, or the Willing Workers on Organic Farms program (http://greatroadfarm.com/about/).

The program links volunteers with organic farmers and throughout the course of the program, volunteers live the daily lives of a farmer. Kyle also shares "Growing organic is meaningful to me because of the lasting community impact that a farmer/farm can make. For me it’s all about maintaining healthy land and soil for future generations. I am very passionate about the opportunity to grow food for my community, educating about organic practices and engaging with locals.”

Overall impact

The farm impacts the local community. It serves two different farmers markets (one in West Windsor, New Jersey and one in Asbury Park, New Jersey) every week. Combined, the farm serves around 130-150 customers weekly on average to both farmers markets. In addition, the farm also supplies produce for two local restaurants (Agricola and The Dinky Bar and Kitchen). Together, they provide produce for around 3,000 customers at the restaurants every week! Finally, the farm serves extra/leftover produce to two local charities (Princeton School Gardens Cooperative and Meals on Wheels in Mercer County). This serves approximately 100 people weekly.

Kyle also states “I think that in New Jersey specifically, we’re in a unique position where there are younger farmers emerging and understanding the importance of organic farming.” Hopefully, in the long term, Great Road Farms can be an example of sustainable and organic farming for new emerging farmers to learn from similar to the farms that co-owners Kyle and Steve learned from. These farming techniques would then help lead to an increase in support for future generations since it is an overall reduction in the risk of groundwater pollution (organic farming does not promote the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides). This allows for less pollution and carbon footprint when promoting organic farmers. These short and long term effects impact the owners and employees of the farm because they are the visible things that keep the team motivated and inspired to continue doing their hard work.

Business benefit

The short term effects of the innovation on the business are creating community engagement and having an effective system that results in sustainable soil quality. The business also grows locally which benefits its local community and builds customer loyalty. The farm sees extremely loyal customers and is able to serve to local charities, restaurants and farmers markets.

Social and environmental benefit

The short term effects on society include preserving water and providing high quality produce for the community. The short term effects on the environment would be a reduction of soil degradation and erosion, composting, and crop productivity and diversity. The long term effects on the business would be an increase in the short term effects as well as in community engagement with organic practices. The farm's innovation of growing organic and sustainably allows for future generations to look up to the farmers and owners at Great Road Farms and learn its techniques. Also, not using fertilizers of any kind, leads to cleaner water and eliminates the chance of tarnished water runoff.

Interviews

Kyle Goedde, Co-Owner

Cara Kent, Farmer

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Great Road Farms

Great Road Farms

Skillman, New Jersey, US

Business Website: http://www.greatroadfarm.com

Year Founded: 2012

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Great Road Farms is a small certified organic farm which supplies fresh produce to local farmers markets and restaurants in Princeton, NJ area. The innovation the farm has created is being a sustainably smart farm, which limits its waste and limits its carbon footprint.