Maintaining organic certification requires keeping complete, extensive and detailed records about all aspects of farm work, and requires keeping copies of receipts for all purchases of seeds, fertilizers, etc. Even market gardeners that do not seek organic certification must maintain extensive records to be compliant with food safety laws as codified in the FSMA. As I am an intrinsically disorganized person, I have created a relational database to facilitate keeping and maintaining the required records. The database is now on its third iteration of improvement. The beauty of the database is that it runs in the cloud on Airtable, which allows access by smartphone from the field, as well as via web browser from a laptop or desktop computer.
Annual recertification of an organic farm requires an inspection that typically takes two to three hours, with most of this time devoted to auditing farm records. During High & Dry Farm’s most recent certification inspection, Airtable allowed me to power through the audit, which was completed within one hour, with no significant issues reported.
We am now making this database system, Organic Farmer 4.0, available to farmers completely without charge. Sign up for a free Airtable account here. Once you have signed up, download a copy of the Organic Farmer 4.0 database to your Airtable account here. Detailed instructions for use of Organic Farmer 4.0 can be found here.
After some thought we decided to build our new high tunnel with 4′ hoop spacing, instead of 5′, for added strength, so the planned dimensions are now 30′ x 96′. A big unexpected roadblock is that we cannot perform site leveling or post installation until an archaeologist assesses the site, and NRCS has no idea when the archaeologist can visit, as they employ only one to cover the whole state. WTF?
The hoophouse kit arrived on June 5. 7000 lbs of steel. Today we are in the middle of assembling 25 hoops with trusses. The hoops weigh about 200 lbs each, so muscling them around in 85 degree heat ain’t a lot of fun. We are a little more than half done.
Updated progress report
Grant contract signed -Done
Rototill site – Done
Fed approval of contract – Done
Set position of 4 corner posts and check for square – Done
Order high tunnel kit from Oregon Valley Greenhouse – Done
Site visit by archeologist and NCRS Cultural Resources approval – Sept.5 Done
Preassemble bow assemblies – Done.
Rent stump grinder to remove 3 stumps – Done
Roughly level site (1.5% grade allowed) and sculp drainage channels along sides – Done
Making progress. The site has been leveled and forms put into place to pour a concrete foundation. Our trusty farm truck has hauled big loads of construction materials. The base and 4 walls for the walk-in cooler have been constructed and await assembling on the concrete foundation when it is complete.