At Bray Grove Farm, we utilize organic methods, alternative tillage techniques, and ecologically responsible farming practices, which preserve soil fertility through a carefully scheduled rotation of produce and cover crops. Hand labor using simple agricultural tools and a team of gentle and loving draft mules help to provide our farm’s motive power needs, from the planting through cultivation and harvesting.
We see our mules as living, breathing partners in our endeavors. They are to us, family, and they will always be provided with a safe and loving home for their entire natural lives. Their assistance with farming tasks allows us to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the growing of produce and helps in our goal of achieving self-sustaining, environmentally sound agriculture free of chemical fertilizers and genetically modified (GMO) crops.
In addition to growing produce for our CSA members and restaurant clients, we donate a minimum of 10% of our farm’s agricultural production for sharing with individuals and families in need through food pantries in the Northern Illinois area.
A Simpler Approach to Agriculture
Small is good. There is beauty and grace in the small family farm that remains mindful of the fact limits are not only inescapable but they are indispensable to achieve true sustainability. We see ourselves as a small piece of a much larger movement of like-minded individuals that share a common mission to offer communities healthy and affordable food with minimal environmental impact.
The methods of farming we choose at Bray Grove Farm, which combine draft mules with hand labor, allow for a closer connection to the land and soil. It is in many ways, inspired by looking back to a time before agriculture became big business and corporations dominated the food production landscape. It is a way of looking forward while using solutions from the past.
A Tradition of Gleaning
Thousands of years ago, farmers would leave the edges of their field un-harvested, to provide for orphans, widows, and travelers to harvest in a process known as gleaning. On Bray Grove Farm, we specifically earmark a minimum of 10% of our highest grade crop production for donation to organizations like We Care of Grundy County, which distributes our fresh vegetables to families through food pantries.
Hunger is a widespread problem in this country; as small farmers we feel we can make a step in addressing this major issue.