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Spirit of the Heartland, KTVOTV3.com

January 23,2006


MAHARISHI VEDIC CITY
Green is the theme at a 15,000 square foot, certified organic greenhouse near Fairfield, Iowa.

"There are specific documents that need to be filled out and at least three years of not using chemicals on the land," said Maharishi Vedic City Director of Economic Development Kent Boyum.

Now mostly lettuce fills the rows, but in February they'll plant cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
During certain times of the year, as much as two to four tons of produce leaves the greenhouse.

"I believe and there's a lot of other people that believe our produce is tastier," said Farm Manager Dean Goodale. Goodale said according to lab tests, organic produce contains more nutrients.
That's because not using chemicals allows more minerals and sugars into the plant.

"People who say there's no difference in the crops the way they’re grown, and it's simply not true, and there are people who appreciate that and that really is our niche," said Goodale.

A lot of what's grown here stays in the Fairfield area, but the greenhouse also ships to stores and restaurants in Iowa City and Chicago.

This greenhouse practices in-soil production. Goodale says typically in-soil production can create disease in the soil, but that can be prevented. He also said organic growing helps prevent pests.

"Once you get the health of the crop and the quality of the crop to a certain point, the pests don't really take an interest in the crops," said Goodale.

The greenhouse has received several grants from the USDA including two energy efficiency grants for wind turbines and solar panels. Organic farming is more intensive and expensive, but those in the industry
claim the end product is worth the extra effort.

If you'd like to learn more about organic farming, the Iowa State University Extension is offering a workshop on January 26th. The program is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hotel Ottumwa, and the cost is $20 at the door.

-- Danielle Wagner, Reporting.

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