Paul Kaiser operates a small vegetable farm on a handful of acres in Sonoma County, California. Last year, his Sebastapol farm grossed more than $100,000 an acre. That’s about “10 times the average, per-acre income of comparable California farms.” (And this figure includes the area’s vineyards).

He’s doing all of this without plowing. He doesn’t weed, and he doesn’t use sprays. His secret? Compost and a unique combination of farming practices (traditional and new).

After a recent visit with a group to assess “the depth and quality of Kaiser’s top-soil”, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources specialist Jeff Mitchell had some observations. Todd Oppenheimer (@ToddOp) writes for Craftsmanship:


It’s unique,” Mitchell told me after his visit. “I’ve never seen anything approaching that kind of thing.”

The methods Kaiser uses could have implications for producing in a drier and increasingly warmer climate.

…his irrigation levels have dropped by more than half, to as little as an hour a week, with production steadily increasing. He now irrigates almost exclusively with a drip system, through thin plastic tubes; meanwhile, some of his organic neighbors still run sprinklers, which require massive amounts of water, much of which is lost almost immediately through evaporation.


An interesting read with great visuals from a new publication. Take a look.


Related Links:

The Johnny Appleseed of no-till farming

Soil conservation farming wins converts

Experiment in Irvine takes crops’ water use to a new low