Biodynamic A spiritually-based approach to farming developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who also developed the Waldorf schools and the Anthroposophical approach to medicine. The Biodynamic approach views the earth as a living, dynamic entity that is engaged in a constant exchange of life-force energies with the rest of the universe. It includes techniques such as feeding the soil through enhanced composting, coordinating agricultural activities with astrological rhythms (i.e. planting by the signs), and careful observation of subtle natural processes.
Biomass The mass of biological material that is applied to the soil with the purpose of using decomposition to add organic matter to the soil. Biomass is usually derived from mulching or the growing and incorporation of cover crops into the soil.
CCCC Central Carolina Community College, based in Pittsboro, offers a degree program in Sustainable Agriculture. Several of the farmers participating in Stewards of the Land teach in the program.
CFSA Based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association works with both farmers and consumers to promote the benefits of organic agriculture. Their long-term goal is the creation of a viable Southeastern regional organic food system.
CSA A Community-Supported Agriculture program is one in which community members support an individual farm by purchasing weekly shares of the farm's seasonal output. Fees paid in the beginning of the season help farmers purchase inputs such as seeds and other supplies, and during the season members receive weekly boxes of the farm's fruits and vegetables. Participating farmer Elise Margoles offers a CSA program.
Related Link: Elysianfarm.com
Conventional When used in this project, "conventional" refers to agricultural products grown using synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
Crop rotation The act of planting cash crops and cover crops in a predetermined and specific order so as to maximize the benefits of soil nutrient use, weed suppression, soil building, and the relationship/effect of one crop on the next.
Fertilizer An agent used to promote or accelerate growth of plants.
GMO Genetically Modified Organism.
Herbicide An agent used to kill or control weeds.
IPM Integrated Pest Management
Monoculture The practice of growing a single crop, (i.e. tomatoes) on large tracts (usually hundreds to thousands of acres) of land. Even when done organically, this practice leads to many adverse environmental and socio-economic effects.
NOP National Organic Program, the USDA's formalized standards for organic agriculture.
Organic The definition of "organic" is subject to some debate. It used to refer to agricultural products that were grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. Now that the USDA has a National Organics Program, the word can legally only be used to describe products that have been certified to meet the range of standards prescribed by the program.
Permaculture A philosophy, conceived of by Bill Mollison, as simply "permanent agriculture." It is a method of designing systems that fully integrate living areas, food production areas, livestock areas, and habitat (i.e. ponds, animals, gardens, trees, dwellings, etc). Permaculture-based systems strive for ecological balance and stability where each "element" (pond) performs at least three "functions" (irrigation, animal habitat, natural buffer) to facilitate the proper and symbiotic function of other elements within the system.
Pesticide An agent used to kill or control insects.
Sustainable There is no one uniform definition of sustainability. The word is used in general to refer to something with the ability to maintain itself indefinitely. When used in reference to farming, it is widely understood to mean a system that is environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially just.
Traditional In this project, "traditional" is used to describe farming methods that were prevalent before the introduction of chemical-based agriculture following WW II.