Colby Anter - Apr 21, 2016

How we Practice Sustainable Farming Methods

What does it mean to be sustainable? Well, by definition, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
There are countless benefits of sustainable agriculture, from pollution prevention, to public health safety, to biodiversity.  At Queen Creek Olive Mill, we strive to do all that we can to practice sustainable farming. Our farming methods and decisions are done with the environment in mind. Here are just a few ways we practice sustainable farming methods at the Olive Mill:


1. Solar Energy

The roof of our building is lined with 444 solar panels that collect energy from the Sun, just take a look at the picture above! These solar panels convert the sunlight into usable energy that power our lights, machines and appliances in our facility. We have a monitoring system that continuously tracks the energy we are producing and that the power system is running smoothly.
Every month we get emails detailing the amount of power we've saved by using these solar panels and what that means for the environment. One such email is below:
Carbon Offset



2. Composting

Composting is nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose and composting is just an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil – dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor. 

We will take tree cuttings, grass clippings and flowers and mix them together with dirt and water, turning the compost over periodically.

Another form of composting that we practice is using the leftover pomace, after the first press of the olives, for compost in our grove around the farm. In many cases, this leftover pomace will go through additional pressing, sometimes using solvents, to produce a lower grade of refined olive oil.

Where does Pomace come from? 
Find out everything you need to know about olive oil HERE!



3. Drip Irrigation

We irrigate with Central Arizona Project (CAP) water that comes from the Colorado River and through a rudimentary ditch delivery system which fills a "pond" (it's really just a large hole in the ground that holds water). From the pond we can irrigate using a well pump attached to a micro sprinkler or drip delivery system. With these delivery methods we can control, reduce and keep track of how much we are irrigating with.

4. Weed Torching

Mechanical flame torches, or Flamers, are portable gas torches that produce intense heat (about 2,000°F). When you pass the flame over and around weeds, it quickly boils the water in the plants' cells, causing them to burst. Once the heat destroys any section of a weed's stem, for instance, water and nutrients cannot reach the leaves, and the top part of the weed dies.
This tool kills unwanted weeds without requiring the gardener to bend and pull, disturb the soil, and allows us to forego the use of dangerous herbicides in our grove.

5. LED Lighting

We have replaced roughly 90% of our lights throughout our building with LED lighting. This reduces the amount of power necessary to light up the building drastically. One LED light could last the lifetime of 41 incandescent and 7 CFL light bulbs. This reduces overall waste and carbon emissions, meaning it takes less energy to produce the LEDs than other types of lights. The heat emanating from LEDs is almost nonexistent, which allows us to save energy through our air conditioning system. Thus, the system will work less, saving energy and lasting longer while reducing carbon emissions.


Our Earth is very important to us. These sustainable practices, although small, help make it a greener place. If 'olive us' work together, we can save our Earth!

How do you give back to our Earth?
Let us know in the comments below and Happy Earth Day!

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Written by Colby Anter