Value Story

Written by Michael McMahon

Throughout my business life I have seen industries evolve as innovation drives new technology.  Employees, and clients experience all these innovations as a change in the status quo. We all take advantage of new products and processes. The rate of change continues to increase and has since the first industrial revolution. These innovations effect everyday life from transportation, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, communications, and information systems.

In my 40-year landscape and gardening career, I have seen changes in plant pallete, fertilization, equipment, irrigation systems, communication with cell phones and all administration activities by using computers.

In agriculture we have seen the change from humans and animals plowing and sowing, flood irrigation of fields to combustion engines, tractors and trucks, refrigeration, GPS and sensors and sophisticated irrigation systems. We have also seen changes in our approach and knowledge of biology and chemistry. These industrial revolutions are not always linear. Mistakes are made and unintended consequences are part of the process. Since World War II, we have seen the use of chemicals to control weeds, insects and to fertilize plants. Farmers grow commodities that are suited for their farms, and which offer the highest potential economic benefits. We have seen monocultures like corn crops which is a departure from what was typical on smaller scale family farms. Animal husbandry increased worldwide as more people entered first world economies.

The consequences of all these changes in agriculture have been both positive and negative. Yields are often higher, crops can be stored longer and shipped further. Sophisticated equipment has reduced the need for back breaking labor and food became more available (but not necessarily accessible for everyone). 

On the negative side food nutrition values may have declined. The use of all the chemicals is polluting the land and waterways. The transportation and use of equipment using fossil fuels and producing CO2 add to air pollution and along with methane gas from farm animals add a large percentage of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. 

The benefits and value of composting and vermiculture include carbon sequestration, less petrochemicals, better filtration, pathogen suppression and better soil management. It produces more nutritious food and along with hemp seed provides a low water cover crop. By choosing to farm organically long-term benefits from using compost provide a worthwhile return on investment. Compost acts as a slow-release fertilizer and decomposes slowly creating humus versus using commercial fertilizers that lace the soil and are absorbed immediately by the plants being grown. When we break down our compost into the various macro and micro components and use market values for those components,  our compost is valued at over $200/ton. This is over 10 times what we charge customers for our compost.

By comparing and testing our compost with the few competitors that we have Soil Seed and Water produces a higher valued product in some cases by as much as 40%.