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Frank = Better Soil = Better Frank

Most farming today weakens our soil.

It often involves giant fields of a single crop, with no other plants for miles. This is called monoculture because there’s only one crop. And monoculture depletes soil nutrients over time, because all those plants use up the same nutrients.

How Polyculture Naturally Improves Soil

In modern farming, monoculture dominates. Picture row after row of just corn, mile after mile. We do the same with soybeans and alfalfa.

Have you ever see this in nature?

Of course not: Even in the desert, different plants grow side by side. Cactuses join desert grasses, hardy shrubs and even the storied Joshua tree.

There are good reasons for this. Each plant removes certain nutrients from the soil but adds others back, either when it’s alive or when it decomposes. A single species depletes the soil over time, but varied species help each other out. This is called polyculture. Paul feeds Peter, and Peter feeds Paul.

Monoculture = Chemicals

So, how do plants survive when they’re planted in monoculture?

Chemicals. Chemical fertilizers, synthesized from fossil fuels in an energy-intensive process, let farmers grow one crop on one giant field, year after year. The chemical fertilizers give these crops the minimum nutrition they need to survive, and they keep on growing year after year.

But chemical fertilizers don’t replenish all the nutrients naturally present in the soil. They only replace certain essential ones. As a result, studies have shown that the food we eat today is less nutritious than the food we ate decades ago. Studies have also shown that today’s organic food has a different nutritional profile than today’s food raised on chemical fertilizers. We’ve changed what nature spent millions of years getting just right.

But nutrients in what we eat today aren’t the only problem with modern farming. We’re building big challenges for the future.

How Leaving Fields Bare Depletes Topsoil

There’s one more problem with relying on chemical fertilizers to grow big fields of a single crop: It lets farmers leave their fields unplanted during the off-season.

Why is this bad? Historically, farmers would plant a “cover” crop during the off-season. These “cover” crops prevent erosion and retain water during the offseason. When the regular planting season resumes, these crops are ploughed into the ground to provide organic material, a natural fertilizer, to the soil.

But modern farming often eliminates this step. So we suffer erosion, and our soil ends up with less and less organic material. Because we have chemical fertilizers, our crops still grow. But they grow in less and less soil. And the soil that’s left is less rich.

Oh Where, Oh Where Did Our Topsoil Go?

What’s the result?

With modern farming, we lose an inch of topsoil every 28 years. And we have only so much left. It takes nature 500 years to create one inch of topsoil, and industrial farming under 30 years to destroy it.

How Frank Can Help

It doesn’t have to be that way. Organic farming can add topsoil even faster than nature itself. By using “cover crops” to avoid erosion during the off-season, carbon-rich compost and manure to make the soil richer and deeper and even more resistant to erosion, organic farming can add an inch of topsoil as quickly as every eight years.

It makes the soil more absorbent, reducing the chance of floods. And it makes the soil more porous, so plants can grow longer roots and reach even more nutrients. Which makes the plants it grows stronger and healthier.

Frank’s natural, organic methods make for better soil. And better soil makes for better Frank. Take Frank home today and see for yourself!

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