Meet the Organic Farm Manager
Rand Fish, the farm manager of Heartland Farm, is passionate about gardening!
A missionary kid from the Congo, where he was born and raised, now enjoys the rural quality of the farm’s location. His favorite aspect of gardening is witnessing the growth process and wonder of the seed, it’s germination, and eventual harvest.
What Strategies Does Randy Advocate?
Randy mixes a variety of strategy and technique from his background in Biointensive Gardening, as well as from his experiences of stellar failure and successes.
“It’s always a learning process, especially when you move to a new ecological zone. Everything can work out well or not at all!” – stated Randy about the learning curve for farming in Kansas.
He leans away from the traditional planting of 2ft wide beds, and likes to dig deep beds using a double dig or broad fork. He likes to maximize space and aims to build beds 4ft to 5ft wide.
An advocate for creating the farm’s own fertile soil, Randy builds compost piles throughout the farm, layering carbonaceous and nitrogenous materials with fertilizer from the alpacas. He creates ideal conditions for the breakdown of material for decomposition to occur.
Randy manages proper crop rotation for the beds ensuring that plants from the same family are spaced out by three years before planted in the same bed twice.
“It can be challenging but you try your best.” Randy genuinely explains.
He will plant cover crops after every production crop (tomatoes, okra, bell pepper, etc,) to aide rest and oversee proper management of the crop rotation.
All of the garden’s production is diligently recorded, making sure that he knows what grows well and where.
For the Farm’s Livestock
“The more closely you raise your animals with their natural instinct in mind, the healthier animal and ecosystem you can maintain.” Randy explains. “You don’t manipulate your environment, you join forces with it, so that it will work with you.”
Randy relishes the opportunity to share his wealth of knowledge. He enjoys mentoring and teaching those who are passionate about gardening and eager to learn strategies to work with the environment and build ideal growing conditions.
“I like to help people grow confident in their growing skills and managing their own gardens. It is exciting and fun to share the knowledge of growing food with others. We all can benefit from sharing our ideas and what works and what hasn’t.”
Take advantage of the Farm’s Volunteer Programs and if passionate to learn more, apply to learn a wealth of knowledge and become an intern in Randy’s Agricultural Internship Program. You can also keep a lookout for upcoming programs to discover ways in which you can learn more about growing food.