A red plaid shirt, worn khaki pants and a straw hat all accompanied with dark, sun-tainted skin describe a typical appearance for David Bell, an ordinary local farmer.
Bell is the owner of the organic-certified farm Bell Organics in Draper, Utah. Although managing an organic-certified farm is difficult, organic food tastes better, is more nutritious and is available locally through Community Supported Agricultures (CSAs) according to Bell in a speech he gave for Love Your Body Week at the University of Utah last Tuesday.
Love Your Body Week at the University of Utah is promoted by SPEAK (Students Promoting Eating disorder Awareness Knowledge). SPEAK strives to celebrate bodies, be aware of both positive and negative attitudes and focus on healthy relationships with food.
Several members of SPEAK attended Bell’s speech on organic food, including health promotions majors Megan Madsen and Allison Stewart. The speech on organic farming drew Madsen, Stewart and other members of SPEAK because of their interest in organic gardening and how organic food affects the body.
“I’m proud to be certified organic,” said Bell as he related his certification to a gold star. In reality, it takes over 2 percent of Bell’s revenue to maintain his organic certification. Utilizing crop rotation to manage pests and prevent depletion of nutrients in the soil is necessary. Crop rotation helps to steer clear of fungicides, pesticides and chemicals that facilitate maintaining organic-certification. Managing the crops, schedules and rotations can be tricky when gardening year after year.
“Worms are diabolical,” said Bell when relating his adventures in farming. Worms are commonly used in vermaculture as they are “a very concentrated form of compost,” according to Bell. He would love to incorporate vermaculture into his organic gardening, but realistically it is too expensive. Despite how hard it is to sustain an organic farm, Bell is happy to be organic.
When it comes to organic foods, “We plan 35 different vegetables alone,” said Bell, including orange, white, red and even purple carrots. Fruit, however, Bell prefers to leave to the orchardists.
“Local fruit has 75 percent less pesticides than commercial fruit,” and that eating organically truly is healthier, said Bell.
According to studies done by both the University of Washington and the University of California-Davis in 2003, eating organic food is healthier, containing more antioxidants and fewer pesticides.
“Fresh-picked, everything tastes a lot better,” said Bell. Bell is passionate, even sentimental about his vegetables, especially the juicy tomatoes.
“You put something like that on a plate and people think you’re ingenious,” Bell said.
Bell’s tomatoes are harvested and given out to members of his CSA up until the end of December. Reasons to get involved with a CSA, Bell said, include going on a food adventure, expanding your palette and becoming a better chef.
It is necessary for consumers to discover their needs, explains Bell. Most consumers look for poison-free and sustainability in foods, which is not always simply organic. Bell recommends consumers to check out http://www.utahfarmscsa.com if they are interested in an organic CSA like Bell Organics, or go to http://www.localharvest.org for more information concerning other CSAs in the Salt Lake area.