Meet The Farmers
Galaxy Farms is operated by Sean and April Roberts and Tommy Letchworth. Sean and April whet their appetite for farming when they started a small organic vegetable farm while April was attending college at SOU. April had previously worked for years as a gardener and landscaper and Sean had worked on multiple farms over the years. Both had studied permaculture and other forms of organic farming practices over the years. Although the two enjoyed the lifestyle of running a vegetable farm, the financial returns were meagre and they began searching for something more lucrative to grow.
When Industrial Hemp became an option for cultivation in Oregon, Sean and April jumped at the opportunity. They enlisted the help of their friend and bandmate, Tommy, who had also recently graduated from SOU. Although he didn't have much farming experience under his belt, he was eager to learn and had energy and enthusiasm to spare.
Over the course of this project, through the many ups and downs farming brings, Sean, April and Tommy have learned a great deal about farming. They have learned to persevere past the bumps in the road. They have all learned how to drive a tractor on their 1976 John Deere Tractor, which they hope to replace with an electric tractor someday soon.
When this trio is not toiling in the fields or working on product development, they can be found creating music and merriment for their friends and family. They are in multiple bands together.
April and Sean have two young boys who they are happy to teach about farming and being stewards of the land.
Sustainable Agriculture Practices
Our main goal in farming is to leave the land more fertile than we found it. With this in mind, our first year farming we focused on building our rocky clay-based soil. We began by tilling in hundreds of yards of composted manure and organic matter. We then inoculated the soil with thousands of earthworm eggs and beneficial fungi. To top it off, we mulched a top layer of organic alfalfa.
After three years of no-till farming the subterranean biome on the farm was thriving and we moved to an intensive cover-crop regimen. We use a mix of legumes for nitrogen, grasses for building and beneficial insect attracting plants such as radish and arugula. Weather permitting, we do two rounds of cover crop each year, once in the spring before planting and once in the fall after harvest.
Because of our attention to the structure and fertility of the soil, we are able to limit the amount of fertilizer and water we use. After our annual soil test we amend the soil with organic additives to create a healthy balance and range of nutrients for our plants. We limit our liquid fertilizer to home-brewed compost, manure teas and fish emulsion. All of these work to increase the vitality and biodiversity of the soil.
Our pest management strategy focuses on ecosystem balance and organic prophylactic treatments to avoid infestations. We introduce and encourage predatory and beneficial insects to do some of the work for us. We apply a range of organic pest control products that use pH, yeasts and oils to discourage insect pests. We have not had any acute infestations of damaging pests in the four years we have been farming hemp.