Full Belly Farm (formerly Norris Berry Farm) grows a variety of berries and vegetables in Monkton, Vermont. The farm has been a favorite spot for pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and fresh produce for over 30 years. This year the previous owner has retired, with Stephen and Sarah Park taking over management of the farm. The couple has 12 years of organic and sustainable farming experience between them, and a transition to organic practices is a centerpiece of their plan for the farm.
To control pests and disease they have been using a combination of cultural, biological and chemical controls, with a focus on preventative measures. This includes careful monitoring of pest pressure via bi-weekly scouting and trapping to track pest populations, thorough mowing around fields, and sanitation of diseased plants and fruit, among other strategies. When an economic threshold has been reached, they use organic-approved sprays, with conventional spray as a last resort. They have also eliminated herbicide use on the farm, using hand weeding and mechanical cultivation to control weeds. Using these methods they aim to spray with precision, using the described cultural controls to get sense of pest pressure and determine if further action is needed. Their journey to organic certification will take a few years, but until then they are committed to farming with practices that enhance the health of the land and community.