The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 15, 2014

Local organic food business thrives

VEDIC CITY — Iowa residents can find vegetables on their plates that were picked as early as that morning from the Maharishi World Peace Vedic Organics Greenhouses.

Contrary to its name, the organic greenhouse goes beyond organic with its biodynamic farming practices to ensure they produce the highest quality foods for the community.

"Right now we are working on becoming certified biodynamic," explained Operations Manager Barbara Stone. "There are a lot of companies that prepare organic foods, and it goes to show there is just another level of organic available that is really concerned with the earth."

Going beyond organic is one of the most important aspects of the farm. Stone explained the the importance of community agriculture and helping support area farms by doing on simple task — buy local food from local growers. The Organic Farm is the largest greenhouse in the area with rows of green tomatoes and fresh cucumbers climbing vines and marigolds enhancing the soil.

According to Stone, the greenhouse produces on average 500-600 cases of cucumbers, and although she would like to keep all of the food local, it is just impossible to sell them all in a five-mile radius. The farm provides fresh and organic foods to two major food producers, one in Chicago and one in Wisconsin, once a week. The farm also travels to Ames, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Des Moines and Iowa City twice a week, spreading their wealth of pesticide-free food.

"We use absolutely no chemical pesticides," said Stone. "We use stuff from flowers that is natural, but we try not to use a lot of it because it takes away from the nutrients."

That is where the marigolds come in. These colorful flowers are running between rows of vegetables to improve growing conditions in the greenhouse. These organic flowers are then picked and sold for revenue along with the various greens. All of the plants grown by the farm are grown in mineral-balanced soil to enhance biological health.

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