New Film: Our Sorghum Scholar-Farmer
In an emerald-green corner of Argentina called Tres Arroyos — the three streams — we met a sorghum farmer who seeds his wonderfully abundant land with courage, wisdom and heart.
Diego Fontenla is a highly-degreed agronomist who teaches courses at Universidad Católica Argentina. He’s applied his vast knowledge to growing healthy crops without conventional farming’s reliance on chemicals, compounds or GMO lab inventions.
“I think about a field as an organism with elements that are part of a system,” he explains. “In a conventional field we have to think recipe and control. A system is the only way we can talk about an organic field. We don’t control it, we just manage it.”
Through his studies and experience, Diego learned the importance of crop rotation in building nutrients in the soil. “The base to have a successful organic field is to have a rotation of crops. The rotation of crops is very important. We rotate with pasture crops or other crops depending on the season. Once we do that we give the soil enough nutrients and the biodiversity we need in the system to have a successful organic yield.”
Sorghum is an ideal choice for crop rotation, adding key nutrients to the soil. Diego often alternates his sorghum with oats, and also lets land lie fallow for extended periods of time. Increasingly, sorghum is also an ideal choice for the consumer market. With its low glycemic index and zero gluten, sorghum is more easily digestible than wheat varieties. Flour made from this ancient grain is the perfect substitute for wheat flour in many recipes. Out in the field, sorghum kernels mature without a protective hull, so there’s no outer layer to discard, no hull nutrients to be lost.
Spending time on Diego’s farm, it’s clear that this devoted husband and father of four young children is intensely focused on producing an exceptional crop that will be safe, healthful and nutritious for his customers.
“First of all, because I am a farmer and a producer of food I have a responsibility to society,” he told us. “My responsibility is to grow healthy crops for people and maintain a healthy field without chemicals or pesticides. Some companies believe the most important thing is to produce large quantities of food. I am interested in producing high quality crops, not high quantity.”
We invite you to visit this welcoming place, the extraordinary land watered by three streams. Begin your visit with our film premiere below. Or enjoy the video along with photos and an essay on our Web site: http://www.onedegreeorganics.com/santa-elena