The Middle Way is a translation of a term originating in Buddhism. In Buddhism, the Middle Way represents not only transcendence but also reconciliation of the extremes of opposing views. The Middle Way goes beyond the simple notion of rejecting extremes in favor of moderation to something more profound - a realization that extremes are all part of the same spectrum, that opposites are bound together in a whole. Rather than clinging to any particular view, whether its an extreme or moderate one, the Middle Way calls us to be constant students of reality, to work always to see the world as it is, not as we think it is, and to find balance within that world.
Farming is fundamentally a balance between trying to control nature and nature having its way. Skillful management requires understanding both truths and incorporating them into everyday and long-term decisions. In the language of sustainability, truly sustainable businesses take care of the triple bottom line - economic, ecological, and personal sustainability. If any one is missing, the business cannot be sustained long-term. The name Middle Way Farm serves as a constant reminder of the need to balance all these aspects of sustainability and to balance our relationship with the natural processes that are the source of all life and productivity.
At Middle Way Farm, we also strive to serve as a middle path between large, scale industrial production (whether organic or conventional) and small-scale, hobby production. We attempt to incorporate the best practices and lessons of both scales while forging a uniquely middle way as a productive and profitable market garden.
Started in November 2012 by Jordan Scheibel, Middle Way Farm is a market garden located just north of Grinnell, Iowa. The farm offers chemical-free (transitioning to certified organic in 2020) vegetables, fruits, fresh herbs, flowers, and plant starts for sale seasonally from May through December. Our products are marketed directly to customers through Community Supported Agriculture shares, farmers market, online buying clubs and cooperatives, restaurants, grocery stores, and through special events and bulk orders. We also offer free, public on-farm events throughout the growing season.
About Middle Way Farm
Many small farms choose not certify as organic and instead advertise themselves indefinitelyas "chemical-free". For these farms, their direct relationship with customers and the transparency of their operations replaces the accountability of outside organic certification. I know many non-certified chemical-free farmers and I respect their decision. Ultimately the decision to become certified is a personal choice.
I have chosen to transition to fully certifed organic production because I believe we need all organic growers to participate, even small operations and even skeptics of the process, in order to make sure that organic certification continues to work for all scales of farming and for all consumers. Organic certification requires farmers to be better record keepers, better planners, and more intentional about our decisions. In short, I think it makes for better farmers. I encourage consumers to learn more about what organic actually means and doesn't mean. Organic is not a magic cure for agriculture but it is a huge step in the right direction.
What is Middle Way?
Why Transitioning to Organic
We employ low tech, high yield techniques to produce great tasting food for direct sale to local customers and create a system of production that is sustainable for the farmers, the community, and the environment. We rely on biological processes that are renewable, build soil, and enhance ecological health. We believe in growing better, not bigger. Our two acre size is intentionally small so that we can focus on caring for the land, quality, serving customers, and working smarter, not harder, while enjoying a good quality of life.