Spencer Farms’ rich soil due to unique methods
By: Adam Dodson
Spencer Farms, located in Marion Junction, is receiving more and more attention for its proven farming style that has added more nutrients to the rich Black Belt soil.
According to 30-year farming veteran Chip Spencer, who runs Spencer Farms alongside his wife, Laura, years of commitment to their way of farming has yielded a multiplicity of high-quality crops that are not seen on a normal commercial farm.
While commercial farms tend to rely on methods that deplete the land and their crops, such as using herbicides that lower the amount of organic material found in the soil, the method adopted by the Spencers benefits the land they live off of.
“We are the first generation of farmers to (improve the soil) since the Europeans settled in this area we now call Alabama, and I am very proud of that,” Chip said. “Here we focus on getting the maximum nutrient density. That nutrient density is why tomatoes from grandmother’s garden taste so much better than tomatoes from the grocery store. It all comes back to how the soil was treated.”
According to Spencer, the satisfaction that they have received as a result of their high-quality products has made people pay attention to their methods and their benefits. Because of their process of “farming” organic materials in the soil, and their commitment to treating their land with over ten different types of nutrients, their food not only tastes better, but is also healthier.
Spencer Farms’ vegetables contain more essential nutrients than commercially grown vegetables, and their pork and beef raised in their “open pastured” style has been proven to contain 30 percent less saturated fat. According to the statistics provided, the farm has reduced the recommended fertilization amount by 80 percent, meaning the soil is healthier to naturally provide crops with what they need.
“Simply put, our soil is healthier so our products are. What makes us different than most farms is that we do not measure our success by the amount of food we grow, but rather by the quality of the food itself,” Spencer said. “This is a glaring problem in the food industry. Everyone gets paid by volume, not by quality.
These tasty and healthy results have garnered attention from universities, journals, professors and organizations alike.
After conducting his own tests and discovering that Spencer Farms makes better products, Dr. Lingyan Kong, professor of human nutrition at the University of Alabama, applied for a U.S.D.A. grant that would permit Dr. Kong to study the nutrient density of Spencer Farms’ soil.
His field work has been documented in “The Ideal Soil Book v2.0,” which is written by Michael Astera, who works for Agricola, an agriculture research database in Michigan.
Additionally, Clemson University, Georgia Tech and Auburn University have all realized the quality of Spencer’s soil and products, frequently working with Spencer Farms to test their samples through different methods.
Coming up on April 14, Spencer Farms will speak at the Michael Johnson Foundation’s 2018 Health and Fitness Expo at Wallace Community College Selma to break down healthy eating.
For more information about the goal of Spencer Farms, their methods and those they work with, visit their Facebook at “Spencer Farm C.S.A.” or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal Selma’s brand-new Black Belt Community Foundation Head Start facility hosted its first ever... read more