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Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's Growing at Johnson's Backyard Garden

CSA members touring Johnson's Backyard Garden with owner/farmer Brenton Johnson on November 4, 2012  

It's been nothing short of incredible to see how has Brenton Johnson, the farmer/owner of Johnson's Backyard Garden, has grown a 1000+ member CSA farm offering 400+ varieties of vegetables in the time that I've known him. When we met in 2007, he was still working full-time for the Department of Agriculture, where he was an engineer specializing in water conservation. There's no doubt that his years of experience managing water resources has played a critical role in his ability to successfully cultivate and irrigate 70+ acres in the midst of Texas' record drought.

Today I tagged along as Johnson led members of the CSA on a walking tour around the farm. I learned a ton as he spoke with a gracious sort of joy about his growing practices. One of the things that struck a particular chord with me was when he answered the question about how he prevents crops from being overtaken by weeds and pests. To paraphrase his response: Just like when we nourish our bodies with all the nutrients that we need to maintain a healthy immunity, Brent makes sure that the soil has all the nutrients and trace minerals that his plants need to build up their immunity so that they are naturally less prone to disease. 

To build up my immune system this flu season, I am eating something green and farm-grown with every meal. Tonight was a delicious salad with some kohlrabi and kale from JBG tossed in a Tuscan white bean dressing. 

On the ANDI scale of 1 to 1000, kale ranks a perfect 1000 for its nutrient density.
ANDI stands for "Aggregate Nutrient Density Index." An ANDI score shows the nutrient density of a food on a scale from 1 to 1000 based on nutrient content. ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an extensive range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities.


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